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Sinotaia guangdungensis (Kobelt, 1906)

Diagnostic features

This taxon differs from all the Australian viviparid species in having heavy spiral ridges on the shell. It is unlike any other freshwater snail found in Australia.


Sinotaia guangdungensis (Kobelt, 1906)

Common name: Chinese River Snail

Class Gastropoda

Subclass Caenogastropoda

Superfamily Viviparoidea

Subfamily: Bellamyinae

Genus Sinotaia Haas, 1939 (Type species: Paludina quadrata Benson, 1842; Chusan, (Zhoushan) China)

Original name: Vivipara quadrata heudei var. guangdungensis Kobelt, 1906. Kobelt, W. (1906). Die Gattung Paludina Lam. (Vivipara Montfort). Neue Folge. In Abbildungen nach der natur. Systematisches Conchylien-Cabinet 1(21): 97-128, plates 15-19, 21.

Type locality: Canton, (Guangzhou) Guangdong Province, China.

Biology and ecology

Under logs, rocks etc. in river. Although the biology of this taxon has not been studied, its anatomy shows that it is a suspension feeder, using the gill for filtering food from the water as in other viviparids, and that it broods its eggs in the pallial oviduct.


Introduced from southern China by way of the aquarium trade and is (was?) established in the freshwater part of the Lane Cove River, Sydney, New South Wales (Shea 1994). There is, to date, no evidence of it having spread beyond that locality.


Previously referred to the African genus Bellamya.

Species of this genus are used for animal and human food in parts of Asia.

A related Asian species, Sinotaia quadrata (Benson, 1842), has been intercepted by Australian Biosecurity. It differs from the present species in lacking strong spiral ridges.

Further reading

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

Ng T. H., Tan S. K. & Yeo D. C. J. (2014). The taxonomy, distribution and introduction history of the earliest reported alien freshwater mollusc in Singapore - Sinotaia guangdungensis (Gastropoda: Vivivapidae). Malacologia 57: 401-408. 

Shea, M. (1994). The Chinese viviparid snail Bellamya heudei guangdungensis (Kobelt, 1906) in Australia (Prosobranchia: Viviparidae). Molluscan Research 15: 3-11.

Shea, M. (1995). Freshwater molluscs of Sydney. Australian Shell News 88: 4-6.

Vail, V. A. (1977). Comparative reproductive anatomy of 3 viviparid gastropods. Malacologia 16: 519-540.

Ximena, M. C. O. & Cuezzo, M. G. (2012). Discovery of an established population of a non-native species of Viviparidae (Caenogastropoda) in Argentina Molluscan Research 32: 121–131.

Zilch, A. (1955). Die Typen und Typoide des Natur-Museums Senckenberg, 14: Mollusca, Viviparidae. Archiv für Molluskenkunde 84: 45-86.