Virginia Land Snails

Photo(s): Shell of Zonitoides arboreus by Larry Watrous ©.

Click photo(s) to enlarge.

Zonitoides arboreus (Say, 1816)

Family: Gastrodontidae
Common name: Quick Gloss

Width: 5-6 mm
Height: 2.4-3.0 mm
Whorls: 4.5

This snail has a subglobose, moderately glossy, brown shell, with indented radial growth wrinkles. The lip is simple and thin. The umbilicus is medium-sized and steep-sided. Zonitoides arboreus is bluish-gray above, with darker bands leading to the tentacles, and lighter-colored near the foot.

Zonitoides arboreus is one of the most widespread forest snails in North America. It lives in upland forests under leaves and upon dead wood. In Tennessee this species was found in many habitats, but was significantly associated with log microhabitats (Coney et al, 1982). Likewise in Maine, it was common and found upon woody debris, often beneath the bark in the rotting cambium layer (Nekola, 2008). It has been found up to 2,000 m elevation in the southern Appalachian Mountains (Pilsbry, 1946).

Like other members of the Family Gastrodontidae, Z. arboreus has a reproductive “dart” used to transmit hormones during mating. Eggs are laid one at a time, scattered in damp leaf litter.

Synonyms for Z. arboreus are Helix arboreus, H. ottonis, H. breweri, Zonites arboreus, Hyalina arborea, H. breweri, H. whitneyi, and H. roseni.

In Virginia, Z. arboreus specimens have been found throughout the state, though a bit less frequently on the Piedmont.

NatureServe Global Rank: G5
NatureServe State Rank: S4


Ken Hotopp 2/2013

Range Map