Melanoides tuberculata


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Melanoides tuberculata
Species Authority: (Müller, 1774)
Nerita tuberculata Müller, 1774
Thiara tuberculata (Mueller, 1774)
Taxonomic Notes: The species name is sometimes spelled Melanoides tuberculatus (see Madhyastha 2012), but this is incorrect because Melanoides Olivier, 1804 was clearly intended to be feminine as it was combined with the feminine specific epithet fasciolata in the original description. 

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-01-18
Assessor(s): Van Damme, D.
Reviewer(s): Kebapçı, U., Lopes-Lima , M., Numa, C. & Seddon, M.B.
Contributor(s): Neubert, E., Amr, Z.S.S. & Madhyastha, A.
The species has a worldwide distribution with no specific threats affecting it and hence it is assessed as Least Concern (LC).
2012 Least Concern
2010 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species has a global distribution. Its original range covers subtropical and tropical Africa (with exception of the Congo Basin and most of coastal western Africa) and southern Asia. During the 20th Century it was introduced, e.g. via rice cultivation, to many other regions and it is presently found over all of Africa, the entire Arabian Peninsula, western Asia, south and southeast Asia including southern China and also in Japan, Malaysia, and Australia (Liu et al. 1979, Brown 1994, Ramakrishna and Dey 2007). The last two decades it has been moving northwards into Europe, having crossed the Mediterranean, and has been found e.g. in southern Spain (Álvarez Halcón 1995). It was also introduced in North, middle and South America. In addition to the countries and regions listed, it also occurs in many Palaeartic countries indoors (aquariums, hothouses, garden shops) or outdoors in warm waters, either artificial ones such as cooling water ponds e.g. of nuclear power plants, or natural ones, such as a thermal spring outflow in Slovakia (Májsky 2000).
Algeria; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Burundi; China; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; India; Japan; Kenya; Kuwait; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Libya; Malawi; Malaysia; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Nepal; Niger; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Tunisia; United Arab Emirates; Viet Nam; Yemen (North Yemen, Socotra, South Yemen); Zimbabwe
Australia; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Cuba; Dominica; French Guiana; Guyana; New Zealand; Slovakia; Spain; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; United States; Uruguay; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


The species' populations may reach extremely high densities of  200-300 ind/m² (Lévêque 1967) up to 10.000 ind/m²  (Pererea et al. 1996) in sandy or gravelly sediments where the snails do not only live upon the surface but also in the top-layer (endobenthic).

Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species is found in all types of permanent waters, from small springs to vast lakes, e.g. Lake Victoria, and from oligotrophic to eutrophic waters. It is a browser of microalgae and a detritivore, feeding on detritus, plant leaves and dead animals, and is able to survive in relatively alkaline and saline waters. The species is parthenogenetic and is spread by birds. The species is the intermediate host of several trematodes.
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species has been spread world-wide e.g. via the aquarium trade. It is well known that the species is eaten by molluscivorous fish, such as some cichlid species and carp, but its use as a commercially interesting food source in fish farming requires confirmation.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species thrives in aquatic habitats strongly impacted by human activities e.g. eutrophied artificial lakes, rice paddies, canals, etc. It seems resistant to most threats, droughts excepted.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Considering the strongly invasive nature of this species, that presently is circumtropical and is moving north in the temperate zone (global warming), it constitutes a threat to aquatic biodiversity. No conservation actions are needed for this species.

Citation: Van Damme, D. 2014. Melanoides tuberculata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
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