Rare snail’s profile boosted and communities engaged with freshwater life through successful ‘Marvellous Mud Snails’ project

Friday 29th March 2019

Marvellous Mud Snails, a Heritage Fund – funded community engagement project by Buglife Scotland, concludes two successful years on 31st March.  A rare freshwater species, the Pond mud snail (Omphiscola glabra), has been the focus of the project.


Over the course of the project, Marvellous Mud Snails has directly engaged with over 2,130 people through public events, talks, school sessions, habitat creation days and workshops across Central Scotland. 350 pupils from 9 schools were involved in a schools learning programme with the project, the majority of which also took part in a captive breeding programme by looking after Pond mud snails in their classrooms. Feedback from the sessions highlighted that children strongly valued the opportunity to observe and interact with live specimens, enhancing their learning experience and understanding of the natural world.


Joanna Lindsay, Buglife Scotland Conservation Officer said: “Marvellous Mud Snails has been a fantastic project which has allowed people to connect with their local environment and discover the wondrous world of freshwater life, all while contributing to the conservation of a rare and threatened species in Scotland. Raising awareness of the small things and how they are equally, if not more, important than bigger, more charismatic species is a core part of our work at Buglife and Marvellous Mud Snails has been an excellent example of this.”


Laura Garrido-Eslava, teacher at James Gillespie’s Primary School said: “Thank you so much to Buglife for adapting their project to our school… We really appreciate it. The children and the parents loved the sessions. Buglife did a great job!”


At the beginning of the project, there were just five known sites for the Pond mud snail in Scotland. Now, after surveying historic sites, creating new habitat and a successful captive breeding programme, this number has been boosted up to eleven. One of the additional populations identified from historic records in Falkirk was rediscovered exactly 100 years to the day it was first recorded!


The captive breeding programme, carried out by Buglife, local schools and Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), allowed new populations of Pond mud snails to be released into 4 new sites in North Lanarkshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Lothian and Edinburgh. Thanks to The Conservation Volunteers and RZSS, brand new habitat was created at two of these sites specifically for the release of the snails.


This project has been made possible by funding from the Heritage Fund, North Lanarkshire Council and Clackmannanshire Council. Marvellous Mud Snails has been given incredible support throughout by landowners, local councils, volunteers and organisations such as RZSS, without which the project would have been unable to achieve such success.