Cornu aspersum

Family

Helicidae

Species

Cornu aspersum (Muller, 1774)

Common Name

Brown garden snail, Common snail, Garden snail

Description

Cornu aspersum is a moderately sized snail with a heliciform shell ranging in height from 20-35 mm and width from 25-40 mm (rarely 45 mm). The shell is yellow-brown and may possess darker brown spiral stripes interrupted by lighter, irregular markings and streaks, creating a banded appearance. There are irregular dimples on the shell. There are 4 1/2 to 5 whorls. The aperture (mouth) is large and rounded and has a lip that is white, faintly thickened and slightly recurved. In adults of this species, the umbilicus is normally absent or closed, though it may open to form a narrow slit in rare cases. The body of the animal is grey to pale brown-ochre and the tubercles are yellow. The mantle is somewhat black and speckled with grey-yellow.

Note: The surface sculpturing of the shell can be used to distinguish between Helix spp. and Cornu aspersum. The shell of Cornu aspersum is characteristically wrinkled, while the shell surface of Helix species lack wrinkles.

Native Range

Mediterranean region and Western Europe

Distribution

North America:

  • U.S.: East and West Coast of the U.S., Southeastern States except Florida
  • Canada: West Coast

South and Central America: Mexico, Chile, Argentina

Caribbean: Haiti

Pacific Islands: Hawaiian Islands

Atlantic Islands

Australasia: Australia, New Zealand

Asia

South Africa

Europe

Other: western Mediterranean region

Ecology

This edible snail lives in gardens and along roadsides and consumes both living and dead plant material. This species is recorded as a pest of citrus in California. In many parts of the world, C. aspersum attacks vegetables (carrot, cabbage, lettuce, onion, tomato), cereals (oats, wheat, barley), flowers (sweet-pea, lilies, carnation, aster, pansy), ornamental (California boxwood, hibiscus, rose) and fruit trees (peach, plum, apple, apricot). The garden snail can lay as many as 80 eggs per clutch. The juveniles of this species will achieve maturity in 1-2 years. Longevity is approximately 5 years.

Synonyms

  • Helix aspersa Muller, 1774
  • Cantareus aspersus (Muller)
  • Cryptomphalus aspersus (Muller)

References

Anderson 2005; Boycott 1934; Cowie 2000; Cowie et al. 2008; Cowie et al. 2009; Forsyth 2004; Kerney et al. 1979

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