The Apple Snail

The apple snails are popular aquarium-pets because of their attractive appearance and size. When taken good care of some apple snail species can reach a large size (15 cm / 6 inch diameter in case of Pomacea maculata, sometimes faulty referred to as Ampullarius gigas) Apple snails are in fact the biggest living freshwater snails on earth. The most common apple snail in aquarium shops is Pomacea diffusa (spike-topped apple snail). This species comes in different colours from brown to albino or yellow and even blue, with or without banding. The body of these snails also shows great variation from black to yellow and grey. Another common apple snail is Pomacea canaliculata, this snail is bigger, rounder and is more likely to eat your plants, which makes it less suitable for most aquaria. Apple snails are tropical and sub-tropical freshwater snails from the family Ampullariidae (sometimes referred to as Pilidae). The Ampullariidae are divided in several genera. The genera Asolene, Felipponea, Marisa, and Pomacea are the New World genera (South America, Central America, the West Indies and the Southern U.S.A.), while the genera Afropomus, Lanistes and Saulea are found in Africa. The genus Pila is native in both Africa and Asia. Apple snails are exceptionally well adapted to tropical regions with periods of drought alternated with periods of excessive rainfall. This adaptation is reflected in their life style: moderately amphibious and being equipped with a shell door enabling the snail to close its shell (to prevent drying out while hiding in the mud during dry periods). A typical adaptation of apple snails is the combination of a branchial respiration system comparable with the gills of a fish (at the right side of the snail body) and a lung (at the left side of the body). This lung/gill combination expands the action radius of the snail in search for food. Many apple snail species deposit the eggs above the waterline in a calcareous clutch. This remarkably strategy of these aquatic snails protect their eggs against predation by fish and other water inhabitants. Another predator specific adaptation in the apple snail genera Pomacea and Pila, is the tubular siphon at their left side, used to breathe air while they stay submerged, thus making them less vulnerable to snail eating birds. Apple snails inhabit various ecosystems: ponds, swamps and rivers. Although they occasionally leave the water, they remain mainly submerged. In spite the fact that many snail species are hermaphrodite (being male and female at the same time) apple snails are definitely not: they have separated sexes (gonochoristic) and a male and a female are needed for reproduction. When searching for a place in your tank to lay its cluster of eggs it will go everywhere in and out the water. Be sure you have an edge or a lid on top so the snail can not get out. They WILL climb over the edge of your tank and drop themselves onto the floor in there is nothing to prevent it. (no snails where harmed during making of this picture) Below is a video of a female laying its eggs in the upper corner of the aquarium.The is a very slow process in real-time. In the video it has been sped up to 4x its actual speed.
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Apple Snail