Do Assassin Snails Reproduce Asexually

Do Assassin Snails Reproduce Asexually?

Whenever I hear the word “assassin snails,” it always strikes fear into my heart. In reality, assassin snails are not that scary at all! They are popular with aquarists due to their predilection for snail meat. One question always pops up whenever I see a single assassin snail in the tank: do assassin snails reproduce asexually?

Assassin snails do not reproduce asexually. In general, they are known as gonochoristic. It means they have separate male and female individuals. Moreover, they mate sexually to produce offspring. If aquarists and snail keepers start understanding the reproductive behavior of assassin snails, it will enhance their experience of keeping these bumblebee creatures. 

Do you know assassin snails are not hermaphrodites? As I have mentioned before, they have separate male and female sexes. Just like these facts, I have a lot of exciting information about assassin snails in this guide. So, if you want to learn more about how assassin snails reproduce and how to breed them in your aquarium, follow in the footsteps of this article to know more.

Let’s begin!

Do Assassin Snails Reproduce Asexually?

No! Assassin snails do not reproduce asexually. These types of snails are not even hermaphrodites, just like other snail species. This is because assassin snails are a bit different from other snail species.

There are many snail species that are popularly known to reproduce asexually. But what if I talk about the breeding of assassin snails? The aquarists must consider keeping two snails in the tank for successful breeding.

According to the study of one of the Reddit reports:

“There should be one male and one female assassin snail in the aquarium to get baby assassin snails. So, it is clear that an individual assassin snail is either male or female, not both genders in one body. This is the main reason why assassin snails have a low fertility rate and a slow growth rate compared to other snails.”

Fun Fact Time!

It is important to note that assassin snails are difficult to recognize as male and female. I think this is one of the most complicated parts of “to sex them” (to remember them as male or female). Interestingly, male and female assassin snails are physically similar.

That’s why aquarists and snail keepers find it hard to recognize which one is male or female. The size and shape of male and female assassin snails are quite similar. Thus, they are the perfect example of sexual dimorphism!

Read also: Mystery snails mating or fighting?

How do assassin snails breed sexually and asexually?

As I mentioned before, assassin snails do not reproduce asexually. They only breed sexually with separate male and female individuals. Let’s discuss how assassin snails produce sexually in the following table:

Important Note:

Sexual reproduction is the process of combining genetic material from two parents to produce offspring that are genetically different from both parents. Asexual reproduction is the process of producing offspring that are genetically identical to the parent without the involvement of another individual.

Step Details
Mating:The mating process of assassin snails starts by attaching to each other for several hours.The male snail inserts his penis-like organ into the female’s genital pore.Then, the male snail transfers sperm to the female snail to fertilize her eggs.
Egg Laying:The female snail lays single eggs (individually) in transparent capsules that are square in shape.Each capsule contains only one yellow egg.The female usually deposits 1 to 4 eggs per clutch in a straight line.Primarily, female assassin snails lay eggs on hard surfaces, such as rocks, driftwood, or aquarium glass.
Incubation:The eggs take about 46 to 58 days to hatch at 77°F (25°C).The temperature and humidity affect the incubation time and the survival rate of the hatchlings.They resemble miniature adults without the typical shell stripes.
Hatching:The hatchlings emerge from the egg capsules with fully developed shells and opercula.They are about 2 mm in length and have a brownish color.The hatchlings feed on algae, biofilm, and detritus.
Growth:Assassin snails grow relatively slowly.It takes them about 6 to 9 months to attain shell lengths of about 0.2 inches (5 mm). Thus, they reach maturity in about 6 to 8 months.They reach their full adult size of about 0.8 to 1.2 inches (2 to 3 cm) in about 2 to 3 years.

Here is a fantastic fun fact about the assassin snail reproduction business. The business of selling assassin snails is profitable because these snails are rarely found, and their population growth is slow compared to other snails. Watch out for this informative YouTube video guide about the reproduction of assassin snails.

How often do assassin snails mate and lay eggs?

Assassin Snails Reproduce Asexually

How often assassin snails mate and lay eggs depends on various factors. Some of the factors include water temperature, food availability, and stress levels. However, some hobbyists report that assassin snails lay eggs all year round in a controlled laboratory environment.

Others have observed that assassin snails lay eggs more frequently in warmer months than in colder months. According to the study of Planted Tank Community and a few other forums, assassin snails mate all the time, either in a wild environment or in captivity. It seems like they lay one egg after one mating, but they always seem busy in mating.

What are the snail species that reproduce asexually?

According to the study of the Center for Invasive Species Research, here is the list of a few snail species that are capable of reproducing asexually:

  • New Zealand Mud Snails: These are popular with aquarists and snail enthusiasts. This is because these snails are the true examples of those snails that can reproduce asexually. Mud snails are capable of self-fertilization and can produce clones of themselves.
  • Malaysian trumpet snails: These snails are livebearers that can self-fertilize and produce offspring without a partner.
  • Bladder snails: These snails can reproduce sexually and asexually, depending on the availability of mates.
  • Pond snails: According to an NCBI research paper, the great pond snails can reproduce sexually and asexually, both.

Thus, most of the freshwater snails can reproduce asexually. These snails are hermaphrodites and have both sex organs.


1.Do assassin snails eat their own eggs?

No, assassin snails do not eat their own eggs. They can recognize their own kind. So, cannibalism is unlikely to happen. However, they like to eat the eggs of other snail species, including pest snails that are always busy overpopulating your tank.

Furthermore, assassin snails are carnivorous. They hunt down any snail they get their tentacles on. They use their proboscis to suck out the snail’s flesh while it is still alive. Freeks!

2.Do I need to separate male and female assassin snails in my aquarium?

No, you do not need to separate male and female assassin snails in your aquarium due to the following reasons:

  • They are slow breeders.
  • They do not harm their own type of snail species (other assassin snails).
  • They control the population of other pest snails.

Therefore, having both sexes in your tank will increase the chances of successful breeding, but it will not result in a snail infestation.

3.Will assassin snails lay eggs without mating?

No, female assassin snails do not lay eggs without mating with male snails.

4.I was keeping one assassin snail, and it laid 50 eggs. Does it mean my assassin snail self-fertilizes?

No, your assassin snail did not self-fertilize. It is quite possible that another male assassin snail already fertilized your assassin snail before you got it. Then, your female assassin snail stored the sperm for later use.

It is quite common in Assassin snails that they store sperm for up to six months. And then, they use those stored sperms to fertilize their eggs whenever they want. This is why you may see eggs even if you only have one snail in your tank.

It’s pretty surprising that you will have 50 assassin snails now, even though you buy one. You can keep them in the aquarium or sell them to other snail lovers. Just wow!


So, we have come to the end of our fascinating topic, “Do assassin snails reproduce asexually?” We can confidently state that assassin snails do not breed asexually because they cannot produce offspring without mating. Asexual reproduction occurs in some snails by parthenogenesis. This is the development of an unfertilized egg into a new individual. However, assassin snails are incapable of parthenogenesis and require sexual reproduction to produce offspring.

I think assassin snails are unique and deserve more attention and appreciation from aquarists. Assassin snail hobbyists love to keep these snails because they are worth it due to the facts mentioned above.

If you have any questions, kindly ask here in the comments section. I would be happy to answer your queries.