FWGNA > Species Accounts > Lymnaeidae > Lymnaea bulimoides
Lymnaea (Galba) bulimoides Lea 1841

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> Habitat & Distribution

The range of L. bulimoides (together with all its subspecies and synonyms) extends across most of the American West, from British Columbia and California to Texas (Baker 1911, Clarke 1981).  Confusion with L. cubensis/viator and L. cockerelli has rendered the eastern extent of its range uncertain, however.  We have not confirmed any bona fide populations of L. bulimoides in Kansas, Nebraska, or the Dakotas.  In Texas, Olsen (1944) characterized its habitat as “semipermanent ponds and temporary pools.”

> Ecology & Life History

One of the most unusual freshwater gastropod surveys in modern history was conducted in the pasturelands of western Oregon by G.R. Foster (1973), using a soil auger.  Foster collected 456 soil samples in ditches and other spots that seemed to have been damp in the previous rainy season, returned them to the lab bench, placed them in water, and recorded the emergence of Lymnaea bulimoides.  He was able to correlate the presence of snails with a distinct set of soil series, primarily “dark brown silt loam” of medium pH, characterized by “moderately slow permeability and slow surface runoff.”

Olsen (1944) reported two non-overlapping generations per year in his Texas study populations, separated by a three month dry period July – September.  This is life cycle C of Dillon (2000: 156 – 162).  Egg deposition occurred in the wet mud at water’s edge immediately after rainfall, with rapid growth and maturation in as few as 14 days.  Lymnaea bulimoides may serve as intermediate hosts for the liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica (Shaw and Simms, 1929, Olsen 1941, Lang 1977), the parasite persisting through periods of estivation.

Foster (1971) measured the mean dispersal rate of 1,000 L. bulimoides marked and released in an Oregon ditch to be 3.35 m upstream and 1.83 m downstream over a ten week period of observation.

> Taxonomy & Systematics

Lymnaea bulimoides was described very briefly by Isaac Lea in 1841 with no figure and only “Oregon” as type locality.  Confusion subsequently arose with L. cubensis/viator (e.g. Pilsbry 1891), several species being described and subsumed underneath bulimoides that are clearly synonymous with cubensis, including dalli from the Midwest (Baker 1907) and perplexa from Washington state (Baker & Henderson 1929).

Haldeman described a Texas population of L. bulimoides bearing a higher spired shell as L. techella in 1867.  Pilsbry & Ferris (1906) subsumed techella as a subspecies under bulimoides and added two new subspecies, cockerelli and sonomaensis (Hemphill).  Although Pilsbry & Ferris were correct about techella, it now appears that cockerelli and sonomaensis, bearing more globose and inflated shells, are a distinct species, reproductively isolated from L. bulimoides (Bequeart & Miller 1973).

Burch (1989) grouped bulimoides together with cubensis, dalli, perplexa, techella, cockerelli, sonomaensis, and several less well known taxa into a subgenus Bakerilymnaea of the genus Fossaria, based on their bicuspid first marginal teeth.  Fossaria (Westerlund 1885) was subsequently adjudged junior to Galba (Schrank 1803) by the ICZN (1998).  We agree with Hubendick (1951), however, that the minimal morphological diversity demonstrated by the worldwide Lymnaeidae does not, in general, warrant subdivision of the family into genera.

> Maps and Supplementary Resources

> Essays

  • See my post to the FWGNA blog of 28Dec06 for a review of The Classification of the Lymnaeidae.
  • See my essay of 4June12 for a review of the large molecular phylogenetic literature that had accumulated on the Lymnaeidae as of that date, The Lymnaeidae 2012: Stagnalis yardstick. The (very sparse) data available at the time suggested a close association between L. bulimoides and L. cubensis, possibly synonymy of the former under the latter.  But see my essay of 13Feb24 below.
  • I reviewed the entire worldwide fauna of crappy-little amphibious lymnaeids in 7June21, The American Galba and The French Connection.  That post featured a couple nice comparative figures of shell and radula.
  • In my post of 6July21 I reviewed the results of the big international research effort of Alda and colleagues (2021), Exactly 3ish American Galba.  Alas, there were no more data available for L. bulimoides in 2021 than there were in 2012.  Again, see my essay of 13Feb24 below.
  • In my essay of 13Feb24 I finally addressed the rhetorical question, What is Lymnaea bulimoides?  We review the history of the taxon as it has been applied to living populations of lymnaeid snails throughout the American West, especially focusing on longstanding confusion with L. cubensis/viator.  This essay is essential background for my follow up of DATE, addressing the confusion between L. bulimoides and L. cockerelli. 

> References

Baker, F. C. (1911) The Lymnaeidae of North and Middle America, Recent and Fossil.  Special Publication, vol. 3. Chicago Academy of Natural Sciences, Chicago.   
Baker, F. C. (1928) Freshwater Mollusca of Wisconsin, Part I, Gastropoda. Bull. Wisc. Geol. Natur. Hist. Survey, vol. 70. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.
Bequaert, J.C. and Miller, W.B. 1973. The Mollusks of the Arid Southwest with an Arizona Check list. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona. 271 pp.
Burch, J.B. 1989. North American Freshwater Snails.  Malacological Publications, Hamburg, MI.  365 pp
Clarke, A.H. 1981. The Freshwater Molluscs of Canada.  National Museum of Natural Sciences, National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, Canada. 
Dillon, R.T., Jr. 2000.  The Ecology of Freshwater Molluscs.  Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Foster, G.R. (1971)  Winter vagility of the aquatic snail Lymnaea (Galba) bulimoides Lea.  Basteria 35: 63 – 72.
Foster, G.R. (1973) Soil type and habitat of the aquatic snail Lymnaea (Galba) bulimoides Lea during the dry season Basteria 37: 41 – 46.
Haldeman, S.S. 1867. Description of a new species of Limnea. American Journal of Conchology. 3: 194.
Hubendick, B. 1951.  Recent Lymnaeidae. Their variation, morphology, taxonomy, nomenclature, and distribution. Kungl. Svenska Vetensk. Akad. Handl., 3, 1-223. 
Lang, B.Z. (1977) Snail and mammalian hosts for Fasciola hepatica in eastern Washington.  Journal of Parasitology 63: 938 – 939.
Lea, I. 1841. On fresh water and land shells (continuation) [fifty-seven new species]. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 2(17): 30-35 [7 May 1841]
Leonard, A.B. (1959) Handbook of Gastropods in Kansas.  Miscellaneous Publication Number 20, University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Lawrence.
Olsen, O.W. 1941. The biology and ecology of the snail, Stagnicola bulimoides techella (Hald), intermediate host of Fasciola hepatica Linn., in South Texas. Journal of Parasitology Suppl, 276: 18.
Olsen, O.W. 1944. Bionomics of the lymnaeid snail, Stagnicola bulimoides techella, the intermediate host of the liver fluke in southern Texas. Journal of Agricultural Research (Washington, D.C.) 69(10): 389-403.
Pilsbry, H.A. 1891. Land and Fresh-water mollusks collected in Yucatan and Mexico.  Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 43: 310 – 334.
Pilsbry, H.A. (1896)  Limnaea bulimoides Lea resisting drought.  The Nautilus10:96.
Pilsbry, H.A.and Ferriss, J.H. 1906. Mollusca of the southwestern states. II. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 58: 123-175.
Shaw, J.N. and Simms, B.T. 1929. Galba bulimoides Lea an intermediate host of Fasciola hepatica in Oregon.
Stephen, B.J. (2015) Species composition of Nebraska's freshwater gastropod fauna: A review of historical records.  American Malacological Bulletin 33: 61-71.