Freshwater Molluscan Shells / Ampullariidae

Commonly seen in aquaria, the Ampullariidae are the large apple snails of the tropics world wide. Please visit the apple snail site ( for extensive information on this family.

Pomacea; widespread in South America, Florida, invasive elsewhere
Marisa; widespread in South America
Asolene; northern South America and Parana River basin
Felipponea; lower Parana River
Pila; widespread in Africa, India, Southeast Asia
Lanistes; widespread in Africa
Saulea; west Africa
Afropomus; west Africa
Forbesopomus; Lake Lanao, Philippines


Pila ampullacea
(Linnaeus, 1758),
  Pila polita
(Deshayes, 1830),


Pilsbry and Bequaert (1927) in their review of the African freshwater fauna include

Pila: 21 species + 2 additional subspecies
Lanistes Subgenus Lanistes: 23 species + 3 additional subspecies
Lanistes Subgenus Meladomus: 20 species + 9 additional subspecies and varieties
Saulea: 1 species
Afropomus: 1 species.

Some of their illustrations are included below, courtesy American Museum of Natural History.

Pila ovata (G. Oliver, 1804)
central Africa.
  Pila wernei (Philippi, 1851)
Cental Africa rivers, under water-lily pads.
  Pila leopoldvillensis (Putzeys,
1898) P. congoensis, Pilsbry and
Bequaert (1927) is similar, with
narrower aperture. To 100 mm.
Lanistes varicus Muller, 1774. Southwest Africa. Lanistes is not
truly sinistral, but instead, "hyperstrophic." It might be described as a
dextral shell that spirals upward as it grows, instead of downward,
such that the spire has become the umbilicus, and vice-versa.
  Lanistes ovum Peters,
1845,  Central African

Lanistes bicarinatus, Germain, 1907
Leopoldville, 39 mm.
Lanistes intortus
(Lamarck 1822)
30 mm, from Zambi, Malela, and Banana.
        Lanistes procerus langi Pilsbry and
Bequaert 1927


Salea vitrea
(Born, 1780)
  Afropomus balanoideus
(Gould, 1850)

Western Hemisphere

Asolene scalaris
Lamarck, Uruguay.
  Asolene megastoma
Sowerby, 1825
Uruguay. Mature shell.
  Pomacea lineata
(Spix, 1827), Brazil.
Pomacea canaliculata
(Lamarck, 1819), SE.
South America, common in
aquariums, invasive in SE.
Asia, Japan, Australia, Hawaii.
  Pomacea paludosa
(Say, 1829), Florida, USA.
  Pomacea papyraceus
(Spix, 1827), South America.
Pomacea insularum
d'Orbigny, 1835, Uruguay.
  Felipponea neritiformis
Dall, 1919, Brazil.
Pomacea bridgesii (Reeve, 1856). Large mature shell. Amazon Basin.
Farmed locally and eaten as "churo". Small banded individuals common in aquaria.

Marisa cornuarietis
(Linnaeus 1758), Florida, USA,
native to South America, also introduced into Africa.

A recent introduction

Echo Park Lake, in urban Los Angeles, California. People began to notice snails and their bright pink egg clutches soon after the lake's
renovation in 2013.

Pomacea canaliculata, identified by Lindsey Groves of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, from Echo Park Lake.
Note the "maleated" surface of the upper two shells.

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