Virginia Land Snails


Photo(s): Mesodon zaletus by Bill Frank ©, shell views by Larry Watrous ©.

Click photo(s) to enlarge.

Mesodon zaletus (A. Binney, 1837)

Family: Polygyridae
Common name: Toothed Globe

Width: 24-27 mm
Height: 17-25 mm
Whorls: 5+

This snail’s shell is the largest of those that have a single parietal tooth (on the body whorl). The shell of Mesodon zaletus is relatively rounded and sturdy. It is appar­ently a long-lived species and older shells may be whitish, especially at the apex, having lost the brown outer coating called the periostracum.

Mesodon zaletus is a denizen of cool hardwood or mixed forests, often inhabiting steep slopes, especially along rivers. It may be found in leaf litter and occasionally in moss. Some of these animals can reach high elevations, living up to 5,000’ (Hubricht, 1985). In Tennessee, it has been associated with limestone areas in late-successional forests (Coney et al., 1982).

Synonyms for M. zaletus include: Helix albolabris var. unidentata, H. exoleta, H. zaleta, Mesodon andrewsi, M. exoleta, and Polygyra zaleta.

The range of M. zaletus extends from New York, southern Ontario and Michigan, to east Texas and northern Alabama. In Virginia this snail is found in the western counties on the West Virginia and Kentucky border.

NatureServe Global Rank: G5
NatureServe State Rank: S3S4


Ken Hotopp, Meegan Winslow 9/2012

Range Map