The habitat for the Japanese mystery snail is freshwater lakes and rivers.  This species is also found in ditches, either irrigation or roadside, and slow running portions of streams (The Oregon Conservation Strategy, 2011).  Water depth is 4m or less with a high temperature of 30 degrees C and a low of 16 degrees C (Kipp, 2007).  The Japanese mystery snail thrives in mud which is why in Japan it is often found in rice paddies.  Marsh like areas are common locations for the species in the United States(Kipp, 2007).

Cipangopaludina japonica is native to Southeast Asia, specifically Japan.  This specific Japanese Mystery Snail species has also been located in Taiwan and Korea (The Oregon Conservation Strategy, 2011).  It was first introduced in 1890 to North America occurred when it was imported to an Asian food market on the West Coast (Dillon, 2006).  The species was first found in Lake Erie in the 1940's where it was used as food for catfish (Burch, 1980).  The introduction to the Great Lakes was intentional.  Japanese mystery snails were discovered near Green Bay in Lake Michigan in 1968 (Burch, 1980).  It is considered "established" in the United States.  The species has been reported in Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Ohio, Michigan, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, California, and Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, the Japanese mystery snail has been collected and classified as established in three counties.  In 2007 in Barron County, Rice Lake; in Douglas County, St. Croix Flowage; and in Washburn County, the Trego Flowage had Cipangopaludina japonica present (Kipp, 2007).  In this above mentioned St. Croix River Flowage in Wisconsin, the Cipangopaludina japonica was found at six sites along the Namekagon River (Bury, 2007).

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