The great pond snail (Lymnaea stagnalis) is one of the pond snail species that lives in the freshwater habitats. As the name suggests the great pond snail is Britain’s largest pond snail. It is thought to feed on both plants and animal matter. The great pond snail swims up to the surface when it must breathe and thus they are also referred to as the air-breathing snails.
Great Pond Snail Facts
- Adult pond snails are 45–60 mm high while the snail’s shell measures about 20-30 mm in width.
- They have yellowish-brown shell which is recognized by its long pointed spire.
- Great pond snails have transparent shells which are marked with some patterns or growth lines.
- There are two prominent tentacles that are set right above the head.
- It is thought to have brilliant learning abilities and the snail’s memory is widely studied by the scientists.
Range & Habitat
- Great pond snails occur in the northern Asia, North America, and Europe. Some of the population is also found in Wales and Scotland. They occupy the Great Lakes as well as Yukon River (Alaska).
- Pond snails are absent from the east coast of North America.
- The great pond snail prefers to swim in slow-moving waters such as reservoirs, pools, streams, and muddy sand. They can also survive in standing water-bodies especially those that are abundant in aquatic vegetation.
Feeding Ecology & Diet
- Great pond snails are likely to feed on animals and plants. Their diet consists of water beetle larvae, small fish, diatoms, gastropods, and newts.
- Sometimes they also show cannibalistic behavior in that the adults eat smaller pond snails.
- Great pond snails are hermaphrodite but they must mate either as a male or female. They cannot act as both. Pond snails have to choose either of the two. They cannot change it once the copulation is done.
- A female lays 50 – 120 eggs mostly on weeds or other similar objects in the pond. The length of the eggs measure about 6 cm.
- However the conditions may be, pond snail’s size is most likely to be determined by the amount of water in the pond. The more the water is the greater is the size of the giant pond snail.
- In summer, pond snails come to the surface to breathe but in winter when the surface freezes they go deep down to the bottom. Down here snails breathe through the skin. The snail’s tentacles help the animal to take in oxygen underwater.