Cepaea nemoralis




Cepaea nemoralis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Name

Brown-lipped snail, Larger banded snail, Banded wood snail, Grove snail


The heliciform shell of this snail ranges in width from 18-25 mm (rarely 32 mm), attaining a height of approximately 12-22 mm (rarely 28 mm). The height of the shell is usually less than the width of the aperture. The shell is dense and has a slight sheen with few growth lines. The shell may be brown, orange, red, yellow or olive in color and may posses one to five black or dark brown (cinnamon) spiral stripes which may coalesce or be absent. There are 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 whorls with the last descending in front the aperture. The lip is purple-brown, thickened and slightly curved. The umbilicus is absent in the adults and narrow in the juveniles. The body of the snail is cream colored; however, the tentacle and head are darker in color.

Cepaea nemoralis and C. hortensis can be separated by the their distinctly colored apertural lip. In adult specimens of C. nemoralis the lip is always brown, while that of C. hortensis is white. Also C. nemoralis is larger than C. hortensis.

Native Range

Western Europe


North America:

  • U.S.: Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia  
  • Canada: British Columbia, Ontario

Europe: Central and Western


This snail is commonly found in urban areas where it inhabits gardens or abandoned lots. This snail has frequently been observed aestivating on tree trunks. The diet of this snail includes dead and living plant material, carrion, fungi, moss and insects (thrips, aphids). In some cases it may take approximately three years for this animal to achieve maturity and longevity is approximately 5 years. Polymorphism observed in this snail is genetically determined.


  • Tachea nemoralis L. Binney, 1878, Terr. Moll 5:379, fig. 264; 1885, Man. Amer. L. Sh., Bull. U.S. Nat Mus. No. 28, p.468, fig. 512
  • Helix nemoralis Linnaeus, 1798. Syst. Nat., Ed. X, p. 773


Anderson 2005; Boycott 1934; Forsyth 2004; Kantor et al. 2009; Kerney et al. 1979; Orstan et al. 2011; Pilsbry 1939

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