Invasive Species Council of British Columbia
Invasive Animal

Chinese mystery snail

Cipangopaludina chinensis

About This Species

Chinese mystery snail (Black snail, Trapdoor snail) is the largest freshwater aquatic snail in BC that is native to many countries in Asia. It feeds on organic material and plankton at the bottom of still or slow-moving water bodies, such as lakes, ponds, and ditches. In areas where it is an established invasive species, it out-competes native freshwater snails and can reproduce to very high densities. Female snails can live up to five years, reproducing each year, and may produce up to 130 offspring at a time.  

Chinese mystery snails were introduced to California in the late 1800s and have since spread to water bodies around North America. By shutting off the opening to their shell, these snails can survive up to four weeks out of water. Chinese mystery snail is designated as a Provincial Containment species by the BC Provincial Priority Invasive Species List. 

How to Identify

Chinese mystery snail has a very large, distinctive cone-shaped shell, up to 6.5 cm tall with 6-7 whorls. Juvenile snails are light brown while adults range from olive green to ruddy brown. This is the largest freshwater snail in BC.

Take Action

Prevention is the best approach.

Clean, Drain, Dry

Learn about best practices

The Clean Drain Dry program empowers you to help reduce the spread of invasive plants and organisms to BC waters by following the clean, drain, dry procedure on all watercraft and equipment.


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