Mouse Ear Snail, Ovatella myosotis

Scientific Name: Ovatella myosotis or Myosotella myosotis
Common Name(s): Mouse Ear Snail

INVASIVE to MAINE                            Images to come.                                                                            
Final edit needed. 

Research Summary
: Ella W.
Did you know a snail is lurking nearby that you have seen all your life but is actually a foreigner posing as a local? Well, there is and you are about to learn about him. Ovatella myosotis, however abundant, is a species without many websites for their cause. The creature is mentioned in a lot of dry legal PDF's online but there is not very much information out there unless you truly dig. This is a relatively difficult species to research because of many factors such as having two scientific names,  Ovatella myosotis as well as Myosotella myosotis.  There are not very many resources, so if you find a good website get every last bit of info on it!

What I found surprising during my research was that this species (although sometimes thought to be) is not invasive to Maine. Two of the most important things I discovered were that although Ovatella mysotis is in Maine it only survives in specific water conditions including temperatures being between 61-75 degrees F and salinity to be 5-50 parts per thousand. This is important because it limits where the snail can go. I am guessing it is not a very big fan of Maine winters. Read on to learn more about this daring foreigner!

Identifying Characteristics

  • Thin, short and broad shell.
  • 4-10 millimeters in height.
  • Shell is a brownish yellowish color.
  • 7 to 8 whorls (turns in shell).
  • Last whorl takes up 3 quarters of shell.
  • Lacks a operculum (or door to shell).
  • 2-3 oblique ridges on aperture.

Taxonomy of Species
   Scientific Classification
 What That Classification Means
 Kingdom  Animalia  Has many Eukaryotic cells, moves around, and relies on other organisms    
 for nutrition.
 Phylum  Mollusca  A group of invertebrates that have a soft body and usually a hard shell.
 Class  Gastropoda  Snails and slugs and their relatives.
 Order  Archaeopulmonata
 A taxonomic suborder, within order Pulmonata - many aquatic snails.
 Family  Ellobiidae  “Melampus is a genus of small air-breathing salt marsh snails, pulmonate
 gastropod mollusks in the family Ellobiidae.”
 Genus  Ovatella  N/A.
 Species  myosotis  Myosotis: From the Greek: "mouse's ear".

Similar species include: Assiminea californica

Location and Movement
Origin/ Native Range
 From the Black Seas to Great Britain and the Baltic Seas.
 Ovatella myosotis spread by hiding in cracks in hulls of oyster shipment boats. First found in
 America in the San Francisco Bay in 1871. Go here for east coast introduction-
Spread of Species  How does this species spread from one place to another? See invasion comments. Also for introduction and spread.
Where is it now invasive?
  • Nowhere.  Although sometimes thought to be invasive, it shows little or no competition over resources with other  native species.
  • Identified in Mediterranean Coast (Spain, Italy, Greece, W and S Turkey) also Germany, Scotland, Ireland, Nova Scotia, Cuba, Bermuda, and Canada.
  • U.S: Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia.

Is this species in Maine?
Where has it been identified? Has been identified in Cobscook Bay and all through the Gulf of Maine extending up to Halifax.
How was this species introduced?

Natural Environment
  • The snail always lives where there is little wave movement. Occasionally living in seaside  meadows, but generally is found in brackish environments.
  • Likes to live under driftwood and other dark, warm areas.
  • Normally found near sea or bay.
Climate and Temperature Range
 Prefers water salinity of 5-50 parts per thousand and water temperature  61-75 degrees
 Fahrenheit or 16-32 degrees Celsius.

Ecological Interactions  Detrivore (it consumes partly broken down materials and continues the decomposing process).
 Collects minute particles from some surfaces it crawls over. Also eats blue-green algae as well as
 macroalgae and vascular plants.
Consumed By
 Willets and probably other sea birds.

 Ecological  N/A.
 Human  N/A.
 Economic  N/A.

 Biological  N/A.
 Mechanical  N/A.
 Cultural  N/A.
 Chemical  N/A. 

Interesting Facts