Virginia Land Snails


Photo(s): The large pupillid Gastrocopta armifera by Bill Frank ©. Gastrocopta armifera shell by Jeff Nekola ©.

Click photo(s) to enlarge.

Gastrocopta armifera (Say, 1821)

Family: Vertiginidae

Height: ~4.7 mm
Width: ~2.5 mm
Whorls: 7

Gastrocopta armifera is the largest member of its genus.  Along with Gastrocopta clappi and Gastrocopta similis, these three species are distinguished from all other pupa-shaped land snails in Virginia by possessing a clear to white shell more than 3.5mm tall. Gastrocopta armifera is most easily separated from G. clappi and G. similis by the shape of the columellar lamella (on the left side of the aperture), which in G. armifera is roughly pyramidal in shape (Hubricht, 1972).

This calcium-loving species is found in leaf litter accumulations on bedrock glades, rich rocky woodlands, and floodplain forests. Shells may be encountered on small limestone ledges or at the foot of limestone outcrops.

Synonyms for this animal’s name include Pupa armifera and Bifidaria armifera.

Gastrocopta armifera ranges from the Ozarks and southeastern Minnesota, east to the Piedmont of Georgia, the coastal plain of Virginia, and the Lake Champlain valley of northern Vermont (Nekola & Coles, 2010). In Virginia this species has been reported across the entire state.

NatureServe Global Rank: G5
NatureServe State Rank: S4


Jeff Nekola 9/2012


Range Map