Key to Aquatic Macroinvertebrates in Utah- Single Shell
Single Shelled Organisms - Snails
Snails belong to the class Gastropoda, within the phylum Mollusca, and are identified by a single shell often formed into a spiral or coil.
Five families of snails are commonly found in Utah.
Hydrobiidae (spring snails)
Description:1-8 mm. Opening on right side of spiral. Shell is smooth with an operculum. Color is uniform, light to dark brown.
Habitat: Found in springs and rivers throughout Utah.
Lymnaeidae (pond snails)
Description: 10-55 mm. Opening on right side of spiral. Shell is thin and generally has an elongate spire, no operculum. Color varies with species.
Habitat: Found in all types of freshwater habitats.
Physidae (pond snails)
Description: 8-25 mm. Opening on left side of spiral, has glossy shell with raised spire and large aperture and no operculum. Color varies with species.
Habitat: Found in ponds and rivers.
Planorbidae (orb snails)
Description: 2-25 mm. No obvious spiral, coil is fat, no operculum. Color varies with species.
Habitat: Found in wetlands and ditches throughout Utah.
Thiaridae (red-rimmed melanoides, INVASIVE)
Description: 5-50 mm. Shell is at least twice as long as it is wide. Shell is light brown with many reddish-brown spots. Originally from the Middle East and Africa
Habitat: Found in warm springs. In Utah, this family has been collected in Fish Springs, Goshen and Gandy Warm Springs.
Valvatidae (round-lipped snail)
Description: 1-3 mm. Opening on right side of spiral. Spiral is subdiscoidal. Aperture is circular, with an operculum. The outermost layer is mostly green.
Habitat: Found in streams and lakes in northern Utah.
Viviparidae (Chinese mystery snails, INVASIVE)
Description: Up to 60 mm. Black pigmentation rims the entire lip, shell is smooth, thin and strong in structure. Color is uniform light to dark olive-green color
Habitat: Found partially buried in mud of lakes, ponds, ditches, or slow moving streams.