Geographical distribution and habitat preferences of the invader freshwater snail species Lymnaea columella (Mollusca : Gastropoda) in South Africa

06 Oct 2014

The present geographical distribution of Lymnaea columella, as recorded in the National Freshwater Snail Collection, is described and discussed. It appears that L. columella is the most successful colonist of all the freshwater snail species in South Afnca, and, together with Bulinus tropicus and Lymnaea natalensis, it forms the most widely distributed freshwater snail species in the region. Data regarding the 2 341 discovery sites of L. columella recorded by collectors during surveys are analysed. L. columella cluster mainly in rivers or streams with perennial, slow flowing , or stagnant freshwater with many plants and a mud substrate. L. columella is regarded as a more effective intermediate host for the transmission of fascioliasis than the indigenous snail species. The economical implications of this are discussed briefly in the light of its success as an invader species.