Water quality for Bythinella austriaca

Bythinella austriaca is a freshwater snail from the family Amnicolidae (or Hydrobiidae – depends on the taxonomic view). Its distribution area is Eastern Alpine and Carpathian. It lives in springs and in rivulets only. It is a small snail with the height of the shell up to 3.3 mm.

I collected 10 of these snails. I have put them into a plastic translucent test-tube with some water from the rivulet. I have put the tube into my bag and I was travelling the whole very hot day (the archive shows, that it was 26 °C). Then I have put the tube with snails into the fridge (with a normal temperature about 7 °C) at the evening. The average annual temperature in the Czech republic is about 7 °C therefore such temperature is in all springs. These snails must be well adapted to such temperature and they can be considered as stenothermic species (capable of living or surviving within a very narrow temperature range).

Next day I wanted to take photos of snails. I have taken a larger plastic box, I have put a cold tap water into the box. I have taken a tube form the fridge and emptied the tube with water and snails into the box. Then I taken some photos.

Ventral view of Bythinella austriaca and apertural view of the shell:

Bythinella austriacaLeft side view:

Bythinella austriacaThe snail tries to crawl on the wall:

Bythinella austriacaThe snail is upside down and its operculum is visible on this photo:

Bythinella austriacaIt was good to see, that snails are still alive. This means that they survived temperatures over 20 °C previous day. But then they started to die very quickly during photographing and within a half of an hour they were all dead. I do not know what exactly killed them, but possibilities are: 1) they got a shock when they were moved from 7 °C to temperatures above 20 °C; 2) they had not enough oxygen; 3) the quality of normal drinking tap water is not sufficient for Bythinella austriaca. Or combination of all these things.


Horsák M., Juřičková L. & Picka J. 2013: Měkkýši České a Slovenské republiky. Molluscs of the Czech and Slovak Republics. Kabourek, Zlín, 264 pp. (in Czech and English). page 29 and 45.

http://www.e-pocasi.cz/archiv-pocasi/2013/20-cervence/#olomoucky e-Počasí.cz, accessed 27 July 2014