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Tarebia granifera (Lamarck, 1816)

Diagnostic features

Shells are highly polymorphic, elongate conical and strongly sculptured with both spiral cords and axial ribs, there are usually nodules along the axial ribs. There is no umbilicus  and the operculum is  oval and paucispiral operculum with an eccentric nucleus.

Mantle edge with ventrally papillae of which usually 3–4 are most pronounced on the anal side of the mantle. A brood pouch is located in the head.


Tarebia granifera (Lamarck, 1816)

Common name: Quilted melania

Class Gastropoda

Subclass Caenogastropoda

Order Cerithiomorpha

Superfamily Cerithioidea

Family Thiaridae

Genus Tarebia H.Adams and  A. Adams, 1854 (Type species: Melania granifera Lamarck, 1816).

Original name: Melania granifera Lamarck, 1816. Lamarck, J. B. P. A. d M. C. d (1816). Histoire naturelle des Animaux sans Vertèbres, présentant les caractères généraux et particuliers de ces animaux, leur distribution, leurs classes, leurs familles, leurs genres, et la citation des principales espèces qui s'y rapportent; précédée d'une Introduction offrant la Détermination des caractères essentiels de l'Animal, sa distinction du Végétal et des autres corps naturels, enfin, l'exposition des principes fondamentaux de la Zoologie: Paris, Déterville & Verdière.

Type locality: Timor, Indonesia.

Synonyms: Melania obliquigranosa Smith, 1878; Melania lateritia Lea, 1850; Melania batana Gould, 1843; Melania broti Reeve, 1859; Melania celebensis Quoy & Gaimard, 1834; Melania chocolatum Brot, 1860; Melania coffea Philippi, 1843 Helix lineata Gray in Wood, 1828; Melania lirata Benson, 1836; Melania verrucosa Hinds, 1844; Melania asperula Brot, 1868; Melania granospira Mousson,, 1857; Melania crenifera Lea, 1850; Melania flavida Dunker, 1844; Melania semigranosa v.d. Busch, 1842; Melania rudis Lea, 1850; Melania microstoma Lea, 1850; Melania lyrata Reeve, 1859; Melania granospiralis Zollinger, 1860; Melania junghuhni, Martin,1879.

Biology and ecology

On and in sediment, rocks and on water weeds in estuarine and freshwater rivers and streams, irrigation canals and ornamental ponds. A detritus and algal feeder. Parthenogenic and broods eggs and larvae in a brood pouch in the head which contain shelled juveniles in different stages of development. This subhemocoelic brood pouch is modified as a “pseudoplacenta” that, via matrotrophy apparently helps to nourish the developing juveniles. Tarebia granifera is a host of oriental lung fluke (Paragonimus westermani) and therefore of medical and economic importance.

Additional information on the biology and ecology of members of this family can be found in Fauna of Australia, vol. 5B, p. 727-729.


Native to southern Asia. Introduced into North, South and central America and the Caribbean, Africa and Israel, apparently mainly by way of the aquarium trade..


The shells of this species are very polymorphic. A highly invasive species that has spread throughout the tropical world and can displace native gastropods as well as causing damage to water systems by clogging pipes and machinery. Tarebia does not yet occur in Australia but is mentioned here as there is a possibility Tarebia granifera could be introduced via the aquarium trade or by some other means.

Further reading

Abbott R. T. (1952). A study of an intermediate snail host (Thiara granifera) of the Oriental lung fluke (Paragonimus). Proceedings of the United States National Museum 102: 71-116.

Appleton, C. C., Forbes, A. T., & Demetriades, N. T. (2009). The occurrence, bionomics and potential impacts of the invasive freshwater snail Tarebia granifera (Lamarck, 1822) (Gastropoda: Thiaridae) in South Africa. Zool Med Leiden 83: 525-536.

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.