Potamopyrgus antipodarum | Jenkins' Spire Snail



Conservation status

Least Concern

First reported in the wild



Invasive species - risk of Medium Impact

Irish status


Introduction pathways - 1


Invasive score


NAPRA Ireland risk assessed


Species Biology


Freshwater snail with an ovate/conical shell, 3-12mm fully grown, with a highly variable shape (Winterbourn, 1970).


Consumes over 75% of the primary production (energy produced by plants) in aquatic systems where it is present (Hall et al., 2003) and dominates the environment making up to 80% of the gastropod adundance in infected waters (Gerard et al., 2003), with densities as high as 2422 individuals per m^2 (Lewin & Smolinski, 2006). Over 50% pass undigested through the guts of rainbow trout, effecting the condition of trout feeding on NZMS (0.14-0.18% loss of body weight per day) (Vinson & Baker, 2008).


Inland surface waters


Both diploid, sexually reproducing, and triploid, parthenogenetically reproducing (individuals hatch from unfertilised eggs) individuals coexist in the same populations in its native range (Jokela et al., 1997). However in the introduced range only parthenogenetically reproducing individuals are thought to be present (or sexually reproducing individuals are an extremely small portion of the population) (Alonso & Castro-Diez, 2008), with 1-6 generations and a mean reproductive output of 10 individuals per generation (Alonso & Castro-Diez, 2008; Jokela et al., 1997).

Pathway and vector description

Introduced to Ireland before 1897 (Adams, 1897) the exact pathway of introduction is unknown, it was likely introduced as a hitchhiker on goods imported from the Britain as it had reached there in 1859 (Ponder, 1988).

Mechanism of impact

Competition, Grazing/Herbivory/Browsing, Other

Broad environment


Habitat description

Found in all types of freshwater systems and even brackish water (Winterbourn, 1970).

Species group


Native region



World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

Established - Widespread & Common.

Native distribution

Native to New Zealand but widely introduced elsewhere (Ponder, 1988)..

Temporal change

Date of first record category


Fifty year date category


Records submitted to Data Centre in 2023

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How can you help

Report any sightings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre..



Adams, L. E. (1897). Paludestrina [Hydrobia] Jenkinsi, Smith. A New Irish Shell. The Irish Naturalist, 234-236. Ponder, W. F. (1988). Potamopyrgus antipodarum—a molluscan coloniser of Europe and Australia. Journal of molluscan Studies, 54(3), 271-285. Vinson, M. R., & Baker, M. A. (2008). Poor growth of rainbow trout fed New Zealand mud snails Potamopyrgus antipodarum. North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 28(3), 701-709. Winterbourn, M. (1970). The New Zealand species of Potamopyrgus (Gastropoda: Hydrobiidae). Malacologia, 10(2), 283-321. Alonso, A., & Castro-Diez, P. (2008). What explains the invading success of the aquatic mud snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Hydrobiidae, Mollusca)?. Hydrobiologia, 614(1), 107-116. Hall Jr, R. O., Dybdahl, M. F., & Van der Loop, M. C. (2006). Extremely high secondary production of introduced snails in rivers. Ecological Applications, 16(3), 1121-1131. Lewin, I., & Smolinski, A. (2006). Rare and vulnerable species in the mollusc communities in the mining subsidence reservoirs of an industrial area (The Katowicka Upland, Upper Silesia, Southern Poland). Limnologica-Ecology and Management of Inland Waters, 36(3), 181-191. Jokela, J., Lively, C. M., Dybdahl, M. F., & Fox, J. A. (1997). Evidence for a cost of sex in the freshwater snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum. Ecology, 78(2), 452-460.

Global Invasive Species Database

CABI Datasheet