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Apple snails (Ampullariidae)

Taxonomic group

Family: Ampullariidae

Diagnostic features

The ampullariid snails are not native to New Zealand, but they have been introduced through the aquarium and aquatic plant trades. They have thin, rounded shells and there is an operculum (protective shield) that covers the aperture (shell opening) when the animal withdraws. Adult shells are rounded and can be several centimeters across, hence the common name “apple snails”. The aperture is on the right when facing toward you and when the spire points upwards.

Typical habitats

Ampullariids are common in many ornamental ponds and aquaria, and occasionally they are found in streams and rivers.


Like most snails they are grazers, scraping biofilms from submerged surfaces.

Indicator value

The presence of ampullariids is more likely to reflect past introductions of pond plants than any aspects of water quality. They have not been assigned any tolerance values.