Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 1872
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record:
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record: 1872

General Invasion History:

Elimia livescens is a small freshwater snail native to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence and upper Mississippi basins, from Wisconsin and Iowa to western Quebec and West Virginia (Dazo 1965; Pyron et al. 2008). It is believed to have colonized the Mohawk and upper Hudson Rivers through the Erie Canal (Strayer 1987; Mills et al. 1997).

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the East Coast:

The first tidal record for Elimia livescens occurred in the Mohawk River, New York in 1872 (Lewis 1872, cited by Strayer 1987). In 1985, Strayer (1987) found E. livescens at sites along the Mohawk River to Albany, and as far downriver as Kingston, New York (NY) in the Hudson River. It was most abundant in the vicinity of Troy and Albany, NY (Strayer 1987). No specimens of this snail were collected in a 2008 survey (Coote and Strayer 2009), but this snail may have been missed or overlooked.


Elimia livescens is a small freshwater snail. The shell is conical to oval, and dextrally coiled with a sharp-pointed spire, but with an oval bulge around the body whorl. Adult shell shape is somewhat variable in a number of traits including, the length of the spire, whether it is tightly or loosely coiled, and varying width from wide to slender. Adult shells have 7-9 whorls. Younger shells have strong keels (carinae) on their whorls, but these may be eroded in older shells. In some populations, the tip of the spire and the early whorls may be eroded, too. The color of shells varies greatly from blue-gray to dark or light brown, black, greenish light-yellow or tan. The size of adult shells ranges from 14 to 22 mm in Michigan populations (Dazo 1965).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Mollusca
Class:   Gastropoda
Order:   Neotaenioglossa
Family:   Pleuroceridae
Genus:   Elimia
Species:   livescens


Elimia livescens (H. Adams and A. Adams, 1854)
Goniobasis livescens (Menke, 1830)
Pleurocera livescens (None, None)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Bithynia tentaculata
Known as the Faucet Snail or Mud Bithynia. Native to Eurasia, introduced to the St. Lawrence, Hudson, Delaware, and Potomac Rivers; the Great Lakes basin; and the upper Mississippi. Shell is more oval and wide, with its spire less sharp (Mills et al. 1993; Strayer 1987; Dillon et al. 2013).

Elinia virginica
Goniobasis virginica, known as the Piedmont Elimia or Virginia River Snail. Native to Atlantic drainages from Massachusetts to North Carolina, with a much longer shell and spire (Strayer 1987; Dillon 2013). Introduced to the Great Lakes basin, Lakes Erie & Ontario (Mills et al. 1993).

Potamopyrgus antipodarum
Known as the New Zealand Mud Snail. Introduced in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Juveniles and adults of this small (1-5 mm) snail are similar to juveniles of E. livescens and E. livescens X virginica hybrids (Levri et al. 2012).



Elimia livescens is a small freshwater snail. Sexes are separate and lab-reared snails (at 22-23°C) mature at ~7 mm and ~18 months. Eggs are laid singly or in groups of 2-3, on hard surfaces, in spring through summer. Development is direct and eggs hatch into miniature snails in about 15 days at 22°C (Dazo 1965).

In its native Midwestern range, E. livescens is known from a variety of habitats including lakes, ponds, rivers, and on substrates ranging from mud and sand to rock, both with and without aquatic vegetation and woody debris (Dazo 1965; Pyron et al. 2008). In the Hudson basin, E. livescens was collected only in the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers (Strayer 1987). This snail is not known from brackish water and appears to be intolerant of pH levels below 7.8 (Dazo 1965). As a group, Pleurocerid snails are associated with clean, well-oxygenated water (Dazo 1965; Harman 1968). Its food consists of green algae and diatoms scraped off substrates by the radula (Dazo 1965).


Attached green algae and diatoms


fishes, crayfish, ducks


other snails, Bithynia tentaculata

Trophic Status:




General HabitatNontidal FreshwaterNone
General HabitatFresh (nontidal) MarshNone
General HabitatGrass BedNone
General HabitatCoarse Woody DebrisNone
General HabitatUnstructured BottomNone
General HabitatRockyNone
Salinity RangeLimnetic0-0.5 PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Temperature (ºC)0Surviving under ice, under rocks or buried in organic matter (DaZo 1965)
Maximum Temperature (ºC)27Field, Michigan (Dazo 1965)
Minimum Salinity (‰)0None
Minimum pH7.6None
Maximum pH8.8Field, Michigan (Dazo 1965)
Minimum Length (mm)7Lab raised, 1st egg laying
Maximum Length (mm)22Lake Erie (Dazo 1965)
Broad Temperature RangeNoneCold temperate
Broad Salinity RangeNoneLimnetic-Tidal Limnetic

General Impacts

No impacts have been reported from the invasion of Elimia livescens into the upper Hudson River, New York (NY). However, interactions with the native E. virginica are possible. Along the shore of Lake Ontario, NY in several streams, where E. livescens is native and E. virginica is introduced, hybrids between the two species were very abundant (Levri et al. 2012).

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
M060 Hudson River/Raritan Bay 1872 Def Estab
GL-II Lake Erie 0 Native Estab
GL-III Lake Ontario 0 Native Estab
GL-I Lakes Huron, Superior and Michigan 0 Native Estab
L047 _CDA_L047 (Little Calumet-Galien) 0 Native Estab
L070 _CDA_L070 (Kawkawlin-Pine) 0 Native Estab
L085 _CDA_L085 (Detroit) 0 Native Estab
L058 _CDA_L058 (Boardman-Charlevoix) 0 Native Estab
L063 _CDA_L063 (Lone Lake-Ocqueoc) 0 Native Estab
L091 _CDA_L091 (Ottawa-Stony) 0 Native Estab
L127 _CDA_L127 (English-Salmon) 0 Native Estab
L113 _CDA_L113 (Irondequoit-Ninemile) 0 Native Estab
L106 _CDA_L106 (Niagara) 0 Native Estab
L095 _CDA_L095 (Cedar-Portage) 0 Native Estab
L103 _CDA_L103 (Chautauqua-Connaut) 0 Native Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude


Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 2002-2016a Malacology Collection Search.

Coote, Thomas W.; Strayer, David W. (2009) Final Reports of the Tibor T. Polgar Fellowship Program, Section IV: Hudson River Foundation, <missing place>. Pp. 1-32

Dazo, Bonifacio Capili (1965) The morphology and natural history of Pleurocera acuta and Goniobasis livescens (Gastropoda: Cerithacea: Pleuroceridae), Malacologia 3(1): 1-80

Dillon, R. T. Jr.; Watson, B.T.; Stewart, T. W.; Reeves, W. K. 2006-2015 The freshwater gastropods of North America.

Harman, Willard N. (1968a) Replacement of pleurocerids by Bithynia in polluted waters of Central New York, Nautilus 81(3): 77-83

Jokinen, Eileen H. (1992) The freshwater snails (Mollusca: Gastropoda) of New York State, New York State Museum Bulletin 482: 1-89

Krieger, Kenneth A. (1985) Snail distributions in Lake Erie: the influence of anoxia in the southern central basin nearshore zone., Ohio Journal of Science 85: 230-234

Levri, Edward P.; Colledge, Elissa D.; Bilka, Rachel H.; Smith, Brittany J. (2012) The distribution of the invasive New Zealand mud snail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) in streams in the Lake Ontario and Lake Erie watersheds, Bioinvasion Records 1: in press

Mills, Edward L.; Leach, Joseph H.; Carlton, James T.; Secor, Carol L. (1993) Exotic species in the Great Lakes: a history of biotic crises and anthropogenic introductions., Journal of Great Lakes Research 19(1): 1-54

Mills, Edward L.; Scheuerell, Mark D.; Carlton, James T.; Strayer, David (1997) Biological invasions in the Hudson River: an inventory and historical analysis., New York State Museum Circular 57: 1-51

O' Foighil, D.; Lee, T.; Campbell, D. C.; Clark, S. A. (2009) All voucher specimens are not created equal: a cautionary tale involving North American pleurocerid gastropods, Journal of Molluscan Studies 75: 305-306

Pyron, Mark; Beugly, Jayson; Martin, Erika; Spielman, Matthew S (2008) Conservation of the freshwater gastropods of Indiana: Historic and current distributions., American Malacological Bulletin 28: 137-151

Strayer, David (1987) Ecology and zoogeography of the freshwater mollusks of the Hudson River Basin, Malacological Review 20: 1-68

Strong, Ellen E. (2005) A morphological reanalysis of Pleurocera acuta Rafinesque, 1831, and Elima livescens (Menke, 1830) (Gastropoda: Cerithioidea: Pleuroceridae), Nautilus 119(4): 119-132