Freshwater Snails: The Benefits and How to Care for Them

This article is about freshwater snails in the Niger River Valley. The article talks about a longitudinal field survey that was undertaken, covering a period of six years. In a longitudinal field survey undertaken from July 2011 to January 2016, snails of biomedical importance were targeted. These included Bulinus spp., Biomphalaria pfeifferi and Radix natalensis. Monthly collections were

Field Survey of Freshwater Snails

In this section, I will describe the type of methods used and data collected and provide the main findings of this study.

Section 2: Identification of Freshwater Snails

The identification of these species is as follows:

Figs 3 and 4 display the etymology and conservation status of the organisms that we identified. While every individual in the collection has been correctly identified, some of the species are not clearly known in English. For this reason, references have been provided in parenthesis (e.g. Bulinus pfeifferi = Heering, 1971; Radix natalensis = Batsuta & Morosin, 1977).

Fig. 3: Simplified diagrams for the identification of those species that can be easily identified.

Human Health





Native Flora and Fauna

Freshwater Snails

The dry season in Nigeria covers a period of 12 months, with the rainfall starting in the last quarter of October. It usually rains a week or two in December, a week or two in January, and another week or two in February. Other months with significant rainfall are June, July and August. During the dry season, the snails remain underground, feeding during the day, and burrowing underground at night to seek shelter during the wet season. During the wet season, they retreat to the surface during the day, and come to the surface at night.

The Biodiversity of Freshwater Snails

The study was conducted to investigate the biodiversity of freshwater snails in the Niger River Valley.

Medical importance of freshwater snails

Twenty-seven species were collected for the study. A genetic analysis of samples from different taxa was conducted.

Many species were considered interesting. In particular, Radix pfeifferi and Bulinus sp. were considered to be important, because of their biological and social importance.

See alsoFreshwater Jellyfish: A Pretty, Dangerous Creature

Bulinus spp. were found to occur in large numbers. They were found to live in large colonies, and they were often found on tree trunks. Their shell was made up of several valves. These allowed them to host a large number of hermaphrodites. These included two epibionts (zooxanthellae), who directly received sunlight for photosynthesis.

Biomedical Importance

Bulinus braziliensis, The molluscs at the sources of the Niger River are of educational, commercial and cultural interest to downstream peoples. Some of the other animals at the base of the Niger River, are responsible for the river’s economic and socio-cultural identity. Their snails can be viewed as an important bioindicator of the river.

Biological Characteristics

According to the Niger River Basin Research Unit (NRBRU), the snails are spiny, (columnar) and cylindrical in shape. There are many tubular arionous teeth on the anterior end. There is a distinct bladder-like groove in the base of each side of the body. The outer body is membranous and egg-shaped. It lacks a mantle and the radula has only three rows of teeth. The gills do not extend beyond the gill opening.

Snail Populations in the Niger River Valley

department of sanitation diseases. They also monitor its relation to river pollution as well as the infiltration of the snail faeces in water.

are limited due to threats like habitat loss, predation, and pollution. The snails, which

are also a nuisance in urban environments, also serve as indicators of water quality, since their presence indicates a disease-free water body. These snails are usually found in freshwater habitats such as rivers, lakes,

and canals. They are a new species from Africa that are adapted to living in stagnant water, and also that have many hosts,

acres of people depend on the snail for its faeces,

news to you . . .

In a longitudinal field survey undertaken from July 2011 to January 2016, snails of biomedical importance were targeted.

How to care for freshwater snails

They are very small, no more than three inches in length. They live in water and have their residence called a hermitage, which is usually under a stone or in a hole. They feed on rotting vegetation and consume a wide variety of fish and frogs.

The discovery of the benefits of freshwater snails prompted the Federal Ministry of Environment to set up an inter-ministerial committee to unravel the actual situation. The ministry was in the process of compiling a report to serve as a guide to the state of things regarding the live-bearing snails in the country.

The committee, which was inaugurated in July 2015, has so far paid home visits to South Africa, with the South African Federal Department of Environment as a consultant.


It is necessary to first define the objective of the study. The study began with looking at the distribution, abundance, breeding and dispersal patterns of three snail species and their bio-indicators. It was observed that the distribution, abundance, breeding and dispersal patterns of three snail species and their bio-indicators were radically different. As a result, it was observed that the species in this study were not found in the same areas. However, there was a negative correlation between the distribution, abundance, breeding and dispersal patterns of these three species. This study therefore sought to understand the movement of these three species and the bio-indicators they produce. An insight into the distribution and abundance of the snail species was therefore acquired.

This study has demonstrated the high variability in the importance of freshwater snails in the aquatic system and can provide useful information for communities who are concerned about the impact of all freshwater snails on the environment, especially in

Niger River Valley

The study suggests that the capture rate of Biomphalaria pfeifferi, Radix natalensis and Bulinus spp. was low and therefore suitable sampling criteria should be considered. However, careful identification of

Niger River Valley

microsporidia is essential as over sampling of these species may lead to inaccurate conclusions and also may lead to misinterpretation of the roles played by freshwater snails in ecosystem dynamics.