Species flocks in ancient lakes have long been appreciated as ideal model systems for the study of speciation and adaptive processes. We here present data from a new invertebrate model system with intrinsic parameters distinct from those of other documented radiations. The ancient lakes on Sulawesi harbour an endemic species flock of at least 33 species of viviparous snails. Molecular data reveal multiple independent colonizations of the lakes by riverine ancestors. In each colonizing clade, parallel evolution of conspicuous shell morphologies, followed by a differentiation of trophic morphology and the development of habitat specificity can be observed. Extensive shell crushing experiments and strong dentition of the chelae observed in some lacustrine crab species suggest that coevolution with crabs, i.e. escalation, is the most likely cause of initial shell divergence. By contrast, repeated parallel evolution in radula morphology indicates that speciation within lineages is driven by divergent adaptation to different resources among sympatric taxa. The inclusion of coevolutionary processes is unique in this system compared with diversification models developed for vertebrate radiations.