Freshwater shells

by Helmut Nisters, Innsbruck, Austria

An illustrated look at some of the smaller and larger shells that can be found
in freshwater habitats.

 

Shells found in freshwater habitats are members of two major classes i.e. Gastropoda (gastropods) and Bivalvia (bivalves). They occur in both calmer waters (e.g. ponds, small lakes, still waters near river and stream banks) and running waters (brooks, small and larger rivers, in breaker zones of lakes). Some species e.g. Galba truncatula (Fam. Lymnaeidae) you can even find on moist and wet rocks.

The extent of a habitat is less important than the quality of preferred feeding areas. Bivalves for example prefer a habitat with mud. Larger waters are richer in species, as smaller ones don't always survive for a long time.

A selection of shells collected from freshwater habitats are shown below.

Comments to the author Helmut Nisters are welcomed. Other contact details in Appendix.

 

Images of some freshwater shells.

(The size given is the length or diameter of a typical specimen.)

CLASS: Gastropoda (gastropods)


Family: Hydrobiidae


Graziana lacheineri
1.7mm



Bythinella austriaca
2.4mm

 

Family: Planorbidae
Note that side and aperture views may not be to the same scale as the dorsal and ventral views.



Ancylus fluviatilis
4.2mm




Planorbis planorbis
14mm



Anisus vortex
8mm



Bathyomphalus contortus
5.2mm



Gyraulus acronicus
7.5mm



Segmentina nitida
4mm

 

Family: Lymnaeidae


Galba truncatula
8mm


Stagnicola corvus
24mm


Radix peregra
14.5mm


Radix ovata
20mm

 

Other Gastropod families


Family: Physidae
Aplexa hynorum
12.5mm




Family: Valvatidae
Valvata piscinalis piscinalis
4.3mm


Family: Viviparidae
Viviparus contectus
37mm


Family: Bithyniidae
Bithynia tentaculata tentaculata
9mm

 

CLASS: Bivalvia (bivalves)


Family: Sphaeridae
Pisidium casertanum
4.7mm

Appendix

Helmut Nisters contact details (work and home).

Natural History Department of the Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum Innsbruck,
Malacological Collection,
Feldstr. 11a,
A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria, Europe.
Phone: 0043 512 58 72 86 37.
Helmut Nisters
Franz-Fischer-Str. 46
A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria, Europe
Phone and Fax: 0043 512 57 32 14
E-mail:
www.helix@ibk.netwing.at
URL:
www.netwing.at/nisters/

Digital image capture details: Images taken by David Walker of shells supplied and identified by Helmut Nisters. Shell images taken with Panasonic CL350 video camera with 50mm Nikon SLR lens and extension tubes. Digital video stills captured by Snappy 2.0, image processing with Picture Publisher v7.0.

Previous Micscape articles by Helmut Nisters with extensive illustrations are as follows.

The Castle of Ambras, Innsbruck, Austria which describes the shells that can be found in the castle grounds.

'The 'Rockers and Wallers' - shells that can be found in rocky habitats and living on walls.

 

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Published in the September 1999 edition of Micscape Magazine.

URL: http://www.microscopy-uk.net/mag/artsep99/hnshell3.html

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