Bioenergetics and Habitat Suitability Models for the Chinese Mystery Snail (Bellamya Chinensis)

Aquatic invasive species continue to spread throughout the United States at an alarming rate and Nebraska is no exception. Maintaining ecosystem functions is a key component to preserving system resilience, but more information on how these functions are altered by specific invasive species is necessary.


This research attempted to help clarify some of the mystery for the Chinese mystery snail, a species we knew very little about at the onset of the study. We investigated the specie's ecology in laboratory experiments and assessed variables in the field that may be used to predict the species' distribution.

The Chinese mystery snail (Bellamya chinensis) is an invasive freshwater snail already established in Nebraska, yet little is known about this species life-history traits and ecology or how it influences an ecosystem after invasion. Similar to other mollusk species, Chinese mystery snail populations commonly reach high densities shortly after establishment. We developed a bioenergetics model for the species by quantifying and comparing consumption, egestion, respiration, and production of the Chinese mystery snail at different water temperatures. As expected, temperature affects growth and reproductive strategies of this species. We also analyzed a specific case study to identify physical, chemical, and biological lake characteristics that help predict where the Chinese mystery snail is found. The presence of Chinese mystery snail is correlated with water clarity, latitude, and the presence of other aquatic invasive species.
Chinese Mystery snails (courtesy: Valerie Egger)
Chinese Mystery snails (courtesy: Valerie Egger)
Principal Investigator(s)
-Kevin L Pope, NE CFWRU
-Valery Forbes, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Graduate Student(s)
-Danielle Haak (2015

Project Duration
August 2011- May 2015

-National Science Foundation IGERT Program
-University of Nebraska Presidential Fellowship
-University Of Nebraska-Lincoln

Project Location
Southeast Nebraska