Virginia Land Snails


VA Land Snails

Va Land Snails
Photo(s): The shell of Cepaea nemoralis usually has a dark lip, by Robert Forsyth ©.

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Cepaea nemoralis (Linnaeus, 1758) (non-native)

Family: Helicidae
Common name: Grovesnail

Width: 23-25 mm
Height: 18-19 mm
Whorls: 5

The glossy shell of Cepaea nemoralis is a slightly depressed globe shape. It is frequently some shade of yellow, with one to five darker-colored spiral bands of varying widths on the shell, or it can be entirely unbanded. The lip is usually, but not always, brown. The umbilicus is covered by the lip, which has a thickened basal projection near the columella. Irregular growth ridges cover the shell (Pilsbry, 1948, Kerney and Cameron, 1979). Cepaea nemoralis may be easily confused with C. hortensis; it differs by having somewhat coarser radial ridges, a projection on the basal lip, and a dark lip.

This species is often found in early-successional or semi-open habitats, and is very adaptable to disturbed or man-made environments. It has been found on roadsides among construction materials, in old fields, in coastal marshes and beach shrublands, along river floodplains, at abandoned industrial sites, and in suburban and even urban locations. In Maryland, Örstan et al. (2011) tracked the dispersion of an introduced colony along roadsides, ditches, hedgerows, field edges, and forest remnants, and even across a river bridge. It is a calciphile and is sometimes found upon concrete structures or debris.

Cepaea nemoralis has also been known as Helix nemoralis and Tachea nemoralis.

Cepaea nemoralis is a native of Western Europe and has been introduced into urban and suburban areas throughout the United States and southern Canada, from Nova Scotia to South Carolina and British Columbia to California. It is mostly absent from the Great Plains. Interestingly, in Virginia it is found mainly in western counties but not along the coast, suggesting a north-south dispersion pattern.

NatureServe Global Rank: G5
NatureServe State Rank: SNA


Ken Hotopp, Meegan Winslow 11/2012

Range Map