FWS Focus



The tulotoma snail is a gill-breathing, operculate snail in the family Viviparidae that is found in the Coosa and Alabama River drainages in Alabama.

Scientific Name

Tulotoma magnifica
Common Name
Alabama live-bearing snail
Tulotoma snail
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



Characteristic category

Physical Characteristics

Size & Shape

The shell is spherical and can reach a size somewhat larger than a golf ball, and is typically ornamented with spiral lines of knoblike structures (Hershler et al. 1990)

Characteristic category



Tulotoma occur in cool, well-oxygenated, clean, free-flowing streams, including rivers and the lower portions of the rivers’ larger tributaries (Hershler et al. 1990). Although this species is typically associated with shoals and shallower stream areas with moderate to strong currents, it inhabits rivers that rise and fall, and tulotoma have been collected at depths more than 5 m (16.4 feet) (Hartfield 1991).  The species is strongly associated with boulder, cobble, and bedrock stream bottoms and is generally found clinging tightly to the underside of large rocks or between cracks in bedrock (Christman et al. 1996).  Historical habitats included large coastal plain rivers, large high-gradient rivers, and multiple upland tributary streams.

From recent surveys performed by Garner et al. (2016) using side-scan sonar, additional tulotoma habitat details have been discovered.  It was observed that the snails occurred exclusively under boulders composed of dense, hard rock.  They were never detected under brittle siltstone boulders nor in boulder habitat whose interstitial areas were completely void or completely filled with silt (Garner et al. 2016).  A degree of silt and sand needed to be present for any amount of tulotoma colonization (Garner et al. 2016). 

River or Stream

A natural body of running water.


  • Historic Range 
    • Collection records indicate a historical range of approximately 563 kms (350 miles) in the Coosa and Alabama River drainages from the Coosa River in St. Clair and Calhoun Counties, Alabama to the Alabama River in Monroe County, Alabama (Hershler et al. 1990).   
  • Current Range 
    • Tulotoma populations have been recorded in nine stream reaches within the Coosa and Alabama River drainages including the Coosa River, Ohatchee Creek, Choccolocco Creek, Kelly Creek, Yellowleaf Creak, Weogufka Creek, Hatchet Creek, Weoka Creek, and the Alabama River. 

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