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Montana Field Guides

Mountain Marshsnail - Stagnicola montanensis

Native Species

Global Rank: G3Q
State Rank: SNA
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status

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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
A conservation status rank is not applicable (SNA) because the taxon is not a suitable target for conservation activities as a result of not yet being a taxonomically definitive species based on phenotypic characteristics or genetics (Correa et al. 2010).
General Description
Stagnicola montanensis is a species of air-breathing freshwater snail, an aquatic pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Lymnaeidae, the pond snails.

Diagnostic Characteristics
The shell of this aquatic snail is dextrally spiraled and globose-conical in general shape. The columella is lightly twisted, and the shell is brown; body is dark (see photo)(Frest 1999).

Range Comments
Rangewide, Stagnicola montanensis is known to occur in Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah , Wyoming and in the Canadian Province of Alberta (Taylor et al. 1963 and NatureServe 2006).This relatively broad but sporadic distribution reported by (Taylor et al. 1963) seems accurate. In Idaho multiple collection records exist for the Teton and Bear River drainages and from spring-fed tributaries to the Shoshone River in far southern ID. In Montana, old records exist for the Bitterroot and Clark Fork Drainages (See distribution map). Few new site records have been added in recent years.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)


This species occurs in small cold water rivers or spring-fed tributaries to larger river systems. Aquatic vegetation and algae are generally absent from occupied sites. This species is not found in areas with mud, sand, or bedrock (Frest 1999).

Food Habits
Most Lymnaeidae snails are scrapers of algae and other plant materials.

Reproductive Characteristics
This species is hermaphroditic. No information is available regarding the timing of reproduction or other aspects of reproductive ecology.

This species is limited in distribution, most states within the range do not have comprehensive distribution or survey information. This species is believed to be extirpated from Utah Little Bear River drainage. Surveys are needed to ascertain the current distribution and population numbers, and DNA analysis should be done for taxonomic certainty of this species.

Threats or Limiting Factors
Though threats have not been assessed specifically for MT, the small drainages and spring outflows preferred by this species are particularly vulnerable to grazing (Frest and Johannes 1995). Habitat loss is the primary threat to this species. Conversion of cold springs for stock and domestic usage and grazing are among the greatest threats (Frest 1999). Since "[i]t is a pure-water snail" (Taylor et al. 1963), any degradation of water quality where it occurs, such as erosional runoff from road or other construction producing turbidity or siltation, would be a threat since "it is never found in ... muddy water bodies" (Taylor et al. 1963).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Correa, A. C., J. S. Escobar, P. Durand, F. Renaud, P. David, P. Jarne, J-P Pointier, and S. Hurtrez-Bousses. 2010. Bridging gaps in the molecular phylogeny of the Lymnaeidae (Gastropoda: Pulmonata), vectors of fascioliasis. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10: 381.
    • Frest, T.J. 1999. A review of the land and freshwater mollusks of Idaho. Final report to the Idaho Conservation Data Center, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise, Idaho. 281 pp. plus appendices.
    • Frest, T.J. and E.J. Johannes. 1995. Interior Columbia Basin mollusk species of special concern. Final report to the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, Walla Walla, WA. Contract #43-0E00-4-9112. 274 pp. plus appendices.
    • NatureServe. 2006. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 6.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia.
    • Taylor, D.W., H.J. Walter and J.B. Burch. 1963. Freshwater snails of the subgenus Hinkleyia [Lymnaeidae: Stagnicola] from the western United States. Malacologia 1:237-281.
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Citation for data on this website:
Mountain Marshsnail — Stagnicola montanensis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from