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Melanoides tuberculata (Müller, 1774)

Diagnostic features

A highly polymorphic, tall-spired species that is able to tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions – both natural and man-made. Fresh and brackish waters in tropical SE Asia, Indo - Australasian archipelago into northern Australia. Has a thin elongated shell - usually narrower than Thiara balonnensis and without shouldered whorls. Light brown or cream in colour with darker flames and speckles.


Melanoides tuberculata (Müller, 1774)

Common name: Kangaroo Snail

Class Gastropoda

Subclass Caenogastropoda

Order Cerithiomorpha

Superfamily Cerithioidea

Family Thiaridae

Genus Melanoides Olivier, 1804 (Type species: Melanoides fasciolata Olivier, 1804, = Melanoides tuberculata (Müller,1774)).

Original name: Nerita tuberculata Müller,1774. Müller, O .F. (1774). Vermium Terrestrium et Fluviatilium, seu Animalium Infusorium, Helminthicorum, et Testaceorum, non marinorum, Succincta Historia. Havniae &.  Lipsiae: Heineck & Faber Vol. 2, i- xxvi, 1-214 pp.

Type locality: In littorae Coromandel (ie, India, Coromandel coast).

Synonym: Melanoides fasciolata Oliver, 1804; Turritella turricula Link, 1807; Turritella tuberculata Link, 1807.

Biology and ecology

Females have a brood pouch in the head.  Boray (1982) records this species as an intermediate host for Procerovum cheni, an intestinal parasite. Found in rivers, creeks, springs, dams, lakes, irrigation canals and tropical fish aquariums. Lives on sand and mud.


There are a few records of this invasive species from tropical Australia (Northern Territory, northern Western Australia, coastal Queensland) as well as northeast New South Wales.

The native distribution is subtropical and tropical northern Africa and southern Asia. It has been introduced to the USA, Cuba and several Carribean nations, Brazil and Venezuela, Netherlands, New Zealand etc.


This invasive species is established in several parts of the world

Further reading

Beesley, P. L., Ross, G. J. B. & Wells, A., Eds. (1998). Mollusca: The Southern Synthesis. Parts A & B. Melbourne, CSIRO Publishing.

BenAmi, F., & Heller, J. (2005). Spatial and temporal patterns of parthenogenesis and parasitism in the freshwater snail Melanoides tuberculata. Journal of Evolutionary Biology,18: 138-146.

Boray, J. C. (1982). Molluscan hosts and trematodes in the Pacific Basin. Pp. 81-106 in L. E. A. Symons, Donald, A. D. & Dineen, J. K. Biology and Control of Endoparasites. London, Academic Press.

Brandt, R. A. M. (1974). The non-marine aquatic Mollusca of Thailand. Archiv Für Molluskenkunde 105: 1-423.

Glaubrecht, M., Brinkmann, N. & Pöppe, J. (2009). Diversity and disparity ‘down under’: systematics, biogeography and reproductive modes of the ‘marsupial’ freshwater Thiaridae (Caenogastropoda, Cerithioidea) in Australia. Zoosystematics and Evolution 85: 199-275.

Ng, T.H., Tan, S.K., Wong, W.H., Meier, R., Chan, S-Y., Tan, H.H. and Yeo, D.C.J. 2016. Molluscs for Sale: Assessment of Freshwater Gastropods and Bivalves in the Ornamental Pet Trade. PLOS One. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0161130.