Bulinus truncatus

Bulinus truncatus is a freshwater snail with the widest distribution of all Bulinus species. It is found across much of Africa, the near east and the Mediterranean.

The mollusc is very important for Africa as it acts as an intermediate host for schistosome parasites that cause the disease schistosomiasis in both humans and animals.

B. truncatus is found in flowing or standing fresh water and in:

  • dams
  • other man-made lakes
  • irrigation systems

Species detail

The Bulinus snail’s shell shape varies widely. Variation occurs in:

  • the height of the spire
  • the form of the columellar margin
  • the size of the umbilicus
  • Shell of Bulinus truncatus
    Distribution and Ecology

    Bulinus truncatus is widely distributed in Africa, but has also been found in parts of Europe and Asia. Find out where.

  • Paired, adult male and female Schistosoma haematobium worms
    Biology

    Discover how molecular techniques are helping Museum scientists explore this snail’s reproductive forms.

  • SchistoSchistosomiasis life cycle
    Behaviour

    Bulinus truncatus is a host for the schistosome worm that causes schistosomiasis. Find out more.

  • Histopathology of schistosomiasis haematobia
    References

    Get more information on Bulinus truncatus.

Images

A Bulinus truncatus snail from Nyanguge in Tanzania

A Bulinus truncatus snail from Nyanguge in Tanzania.

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© Natural History Museum
The shell of Bulinus truncatus. 

The shell of Bulinus truncatus. 

© Fred A Lewis, Yung-san Liang, Nithya Raghavan & Matty Knight. Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic
Paired adult male and female Schistosoma haematobium worms

Paired, adult male and female Schistosoma haematobium worms, the agents of urinary schistosomiasis in Africa (composite photograph).

© Natural History Museum
Histopathology of schistosomiasis haematobia

Histopathology of bladder shows the eggs of Schistosoma haematobium.

© CDC/Dr Edwin P Ewing, Jr
Schistosomiasis life cycle

The life cycle of Schistosomiasis

© CDC
African snail shells from the Bulinus genus

A collection of shells of species from the Bulinus genus involved in the life cycle of blood flukes of the genus Schistosoma which gives rise to the disease Schistosomiasis in humans.

© Natural History Museum
Author

Dr Richard Kane

Former Biomedical Laboratory Manager/Researcher

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Glossary
Microsatellite genetic markers

Sections of DNA that are repeated in a genome and can be used to study genetic relationships between populations of the same or related species.

Columellar

The central anatomical feature of a coiled snail or gastropod shell, running from the apex to the midpoint.

Umbilicus

The hollow, cone-shaped space in the whorls of a coiled mollusk shell.