Species group: Snails
Other common names: Bumble Bee Snail
Scientific name: Engina spp.
The tiny but stunning Bumblebee Snail makes an excellent addition to most marine aquariums, where it serves well as a scavenger and sand-stirrer.
The Bumblebee Snail ranges through the Indo-Pacific Region, and may be found along coral reefs, sea grass beds, and tide pools.
Appearance / health:
A variety of similar species are sold under the same common name. The 0.6-1.3 cm (0.25-0.5 in) shell is attractively marked with alternating bands of black and yellow.
The Bumblebee Snail is quite hardy when given proper care, but in common with its relatives is sensitive to ammonia, nitrates, copper-based medications and changes in ph.
Behavior / temperament:
Confirmed burrowers, Bumblebee Snails help to oxygenate the substrate and forage on rocks and glass as well. A useful scavenger that focuses on meat-based detritus, it will also consume pesky bristle worms as well as beneficial live sand inhabitants. If food is in short supply, it may attack other snails.
Bumblebee Snails do best in well-filtered aquariums with a bed of live sand into which they can burrow when feeding or seeking shelter.
The following water quality parameters should be maintained in order to assure long-term health: Temperature: 22.7-25.5 C (73-78 F); Specific Gravity (salinity):1.023-1.025; pH: 8.0-8.4; Alkalinity 8-12 dKH; Calcium: 350-450 ppm.
In addition to detritus, bristle worms and fish waste, Bumblebee Snails will consume nearly all carnivore and omnivore marine flakes, frozen foods, and pellets. Calcium supplements and trace elements should be added as directed by the manufacturer.
Bumblebee Snails sometimes produce eggs in captivity, but reports of hatching success are scant.
Written by Frank Indiviglio