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Chinese mystery snail

Quick facts

Chinese mystery snail is a regulated invasive speciesRegulated Invasive Species (MN DNR) are legal to buy, sell, transport, and possess, but may not be introduced into a free-living state, such as released into public waters.

  • Chinese mystery snail populations can reach large numbers, which may foul beaches and shore land during die-offs.
  • They can carry parasites that impact native mussels.

Chinese mystery snails should be reported. Learn how to report invasive species in Minnesota. 

How to identify Chinese mystery snails

  • Chinese mystery snails (Cipangopaludina chinensis) are an invasive species.
  • Large, smooth, tan to brown shell that can grow 2 inches long.
  • Shell lacks banding and can have 6–7 whorls.
  • Snails have an operculum (structure that functions much like a lid or “trapdoor”) with distinct growth rings.
  • An operculum is not likely to be present in dead specimens.
Chinese mystery snail growth rings

Life cycle

  • Females tend to live up to 5 years while males live 3–4 years.
  • Female snails will give birth to live, crawling young from June to October.

Authors: Angela Gupta, Amy Rager and Megan M. Weber, Extension educators 

Reviewed in 2019

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