Arthur E. Bogan,
I received the email where you are asking about the eating of freshwater
Please find listed
below my observations from two trips to China and the freshwater mollusks
I have seen in the markets or have eaten.
I have seen Corbicula [Corbiculidae]for sale in the markets in
Shanghai, China, and in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China. In Jiangxi
Proince they are sold in markets and venders in the market also sell them
in soups or what appears to be steamed with spices. They taste pretty
good. I have seen the local fisherman collecting Corbicula from Lake Tai
Hu just west of Shanghai, to sell to Japan and Korea. They are bagged
in what appears to be 50 pound bags.
I have eaten freshwater gastropods in Shanghai, China both the large mystry
snails, Cipangopaludina and the so called mud snails, Bellamya
both in the family Viviparidae. The mystry
snails were served in a wine sauce and were quite good the mud snails
were not so good.
The Unionidae I have seen in the markets in Shanghai and Nanchang
are Hyriopsis cumingii, Cristaria plicata and Anodonta
woodiana. I was told that Lamprotula leai is also sold but
was not seen in the markets while I was there. I
have seen people buying these animals for food but have never eaten them
and my friends have told me they do not taste good but still no recipes
on how to fix them.
I hope these few tidbits are of use. If you have any questions please
do not hesitate to email me. Best wishes for the holidays.
Arthur E. Bogan, Ph.D.
Curator of Aquatic Invertebrates
North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences
4301 Reedy Creek Road
Raleigh, NC 27607
Tel. (919) 733-7450
Fax (919) 715-2294
I wouldn't eat a unio if you paid me, however, just off the top of my
head, here are a few taxa. If you need common names or geographical information,
I can dig that up with a little effort. Please keep me posted on your
progress. This is just a quick assemblage. I'm sure I could come up with
more if I really put some serious effort into it.
islandica (Linnaeus, 1767)
nuttallii (Conrad, 1837)
siliqua (Spengler, 1799)
abrupta (Conrad, 1849)
generosa (Gould, 1850)
solidissima (Dillwyn, 1817)
australis (Gmelin, 1791)
arenaria Linnaeus, 1758
californianus Conrad, 1837
edulis Linnaeus, 1758
trossulus Gould, 1850
perna (Linnaeus, 1758)
ariakensis (Fujita, 1913)
gigas (Thunberg, 1793)
sikamea (Amemiya, 1928)
virginica (Gmelin, 1791)
glomerata (Gould, 1850)
edulis Linnaeus, 1758
lurida Carpenter, 1864
irradians irradians (Lamarck, 1819)
hastate (Sowerby, 1842)
rabida (Hinds, 1845)
yessoensis (Jay, 1856)
magellanicus (Gmelin, 1791)
directus Conrad, 1843
stuchburyi (Wood, 1828)
mercenaria (Linnaeus, 1758)
undulata (von Born, 1778)
phillippinarium (Adams and Reeve, 1850)
fulica (Bowdich, 1822)
canaliculata (Lamarck, 1819)
fluminea (Müller, 1774)
rufescens Swainson, 1822
littorea (Linnaeus, 1758)
saxatilis (Olivi, 1792)
gigas Linnaeus, 1758
Loligo opalescens Berry, 1911
Octopus rubescens Berry 1953
"Although I stay clear
of unionids as a delicacy, there is history of consumption by native peoples
around the world as evidenced by mussel middens in archaeological sites.
Also in southeast Asia,
some of the unios are consumed, Anodontia woodiana, Cyprogenia abertii,
Hyriopsis cumingii. I hear Hyriidae are consumed in some areas.
Also, the shells produced
as waste in the freshwater pearl industry are ground up for fertilizer
and animal feed."
11 Avenue de Lafayette, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02111
a list of edible land snails in U.S. from the reference:
Dees, L.T. 1970.
Edible land snails in the United States. United States
Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Resource
Publication, 91: 1-8.
- introduced into Hawaii as a food source by Japanese, lots of cash
spent to control agricultural pest, 3 spms. brought to north Miami,
FL, by a young boy from Hawaii where infestation has occurred (since
hortensi (Muller, 1774: white-lip gardensnail
- introduced into New England in colonial times but not established
(wrong!, currently established, J.C. pers. obs.)
nemoralis (Linnaeus, 1758): grovesnail
aperta Born, 1778: green gardensnail
- marginal agricultural pest
aspersa Muller, 1774: brown gardensnail
- most widespread land snail worldwide (pers. obs., J.C.)
pomatia Linnaeus, 1758: escargot
- introduced at Jackson, MS
lactea (Muller, 1774): milk snail
- locally introduced into CA, TX, MS, FL, GA, Sullivans Island (SC)
vermiculata (Muller)= Eobania vermiculata (Muller, 1774):
- introduced into New Orleansin 1918 in Jackson Square
pisana (Muller, 1774): white gardensnail
- introduced into CA but eradicated (?), pest
I checked my litterature
but have no specific list of species eaten. However besides the well known
European species Helix pomum (and similar Eastern European species), Helix
aspersa, Cepaea nemoralis, I was able to find the following listed
Strophocheilus species in Brasil
locally I think
Velesunio ambiguus and
Velesunio wilsoni in Northern Australia and probably other spp.
I also have a specimen
of Placostylus souvilllei from New Caledonia which I
was told was eaten by the residents.
I have also seen
the large Corbiculiids, Batissa spp from mangrove swamps in
Indonesia and melanesia on sale for consumption in the markets
As far as recipes
I have a book by Capt Alex Roth Jr of Guam called
Molluscan Melange which has hundreds of recipes including a few on snails.
I can send you a copy of the snail ones by snail mai l (no pun intended)
if you like. Book p[ublished by Aljemasu Enterprises PO Box 7867 Tamuning
Guam 96911 (this is his old address - I am not sure if he is still around
or OK as havent been in contact 2 years).
Hope this helps.
I will check out or site when I have time. Let me know if you need the
Alex Roths Snail Recipes are:
Snails Baked in Mussel Shells
Snails a la Suisse
Snails Stuffed with Anchovies
Escargot des Ducs D'Anjou
species Helix pomum
similar Eastern European species),
was able to find the following listed
species in Brasil
I think also
wilsoni in Northern Australia and probably other spp.
also have a specimen of
souvilllei from New Caledonia which I
was told was eaten by the residents.
have also seen the large
Batissa spp from mangrove swamps in
Indonesia and Melanesia on sale for consumption in the markets
Frederick W. Schueler
... that's a frequently
asked question, but here in Ontario we always say
that if you've got a recipe that calls for mud-flavoured latex high in
persistant pollutants, you can freely substitute Unionids for the latex.
I've eaten them from northern lakes when I've been collecting specimens
(anything tastes good with plenty of butter and Garlic on it), but I've
never heard of anyone eating them on a regular basis.
Eastern Ontario Biodiversity Museum
Box 1860, Kemptville, Ontario, Canada K0G 1J0
Biological Checklist of the Kemptville Creek Drainage Basin
Frederick W. Schueler, Aleta Karstad, Jennifer Helene Schueler
RR#2 Bishops Mills, K0G 1T0 on the Smiths Falls Limestone Plain
18TVE 446 687, 44* 52'N 75* 42'W (613)258-3107
Subject: Re: Anodonta spp. for dinner?
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2000 13:53:47 -0500
* certainly - and
you might add that so many Unionids grow so slowly and > live so long
that there's a real conservation concern with any harvesting of them.