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Mud snail (c)Paul Baker

© Mud snail (c)Paul Baker

Pond Mud Snail

Mud snail (c)Paul Baker

Fast facts

  • Latin name: Omphiscola glabra
  • Notable feature: Elongated shell
  • Rarity in UK: Rare / Common
  • Where in the UK: Historically in the UK widespread throughout lowland areas of England and Wales. Now in only five sites in Scotland and extremely rare in Ireland.
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Nationally scare. Vulnerable in the UK Red Data Books, is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan species,  and is on the Scottish Biodiversity List.  

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Who are we – The Pond mud snail is 12-20mm in height and typically found all year round, although in periods of drought they will bury into the mud and become inactive. Becoming increasingly rare across the UK, Pond mud snails are now found at only five sites across Central Scotland there is a great need to find out more about this elusive species.

Habitat – Typically found in freshwater habitats which partially or completely dry out in Summer months. Including areas of nutrient poor water in marshes, ditches, pools and seepages, with few other aquatic animals. Worryingly, in the UK the snail is thought to have declined in the last 25 years by as much as 49%.

Conservation – Decline in the population is due to the temporary habitats favoured by the Pond mud snail being lost or degraded through infilling. Many sites have been improved visually for landscape purposes, are affected by scrub encroachment and agricultural run off or are simply under-recorded. The situation is not helped by the mud snail’s lack of mobility, being unable to move between or to new areas when their habitat is lost.

Buglife has an exciting new project to create a healthier, more resilient population of Pond mud snail in Scotland, working with local council authorities and partners such as the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS). The project will focus on three areas: education - raising awareness through public and volunteer events, captive breeding – enlisting the help of local schools and volunteers, and a reassessment of the dwindling population. To find out more about Marvellous Mud Snails, visit our project page to see how you can help.

Life Cycle – Like many other molluscs, Pond mud snails are hermaphrodites, meaning that each individual is capable of laying eggs. In February, each adult snail lays egg masses of between 10-30 eggs that take up to 25 days to hatch. When kept in captivity, the snails lay eggs all year round making them an exciting and fun species to engage with the public.

Did you Know?

Pond mud snails are able to fill their pallial cavity with water and to acquire oxygen from it, despite being pulmonate (lung breathing). This helps them survive longer without a steady source of water. 

Pond mud snail baby under microscope

© Pond mud snail baby under microscope

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