Helix spp.

Family

Helicidae

Species

Helix pomatia Linnaeus, 1758

H. lucorum Linnaeus, 1758

H. aperta Born, 1778

Common Name

Roman snail, Edible snail, Vineyard snail

Helix aperta: Burrowing snail, Green snail

Description

H. pomatia: Helix pomatia has a large shell that can attain a height of 30-50 mm and a width of 32-50 mm. There are a total of 5-6 whorls. The thin shell of this snail is globose with a wrinkled surface, giving the appearance of faint spiral lines. The shell has a brownish color often classified as chamois. This chamois color is often interrupted by wide cinnamon-brown stripes. The stripes may be either distinct or ill-defined. The aperture is large with a slightly expanded pecan brown lip that is broadly reflected at the collumela, partially covering the umbilicus.

H. lucorum: The thick shell of this species will get as high as 55 mm, with 4.5-5 rapidly increasing whorls. The compressed, spherical shell has a distinct apex. The shell has a white background with dark-brown, irregular, vertical bands.

H. aperta: This species has a diameter of approximate 31 mm, with 4 rapidly increasing whorls. This species is not banded or striped. The base color is olive-brown to greenish. The shell is thin-walled and translucent.

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

Central and Southeastern Europe, and the Mediterranean region

Distribution

North America:

  • U.S.: Michigan, Wisconsin

Europe

Other: Mediterranean region

Ecology

This group of species can be found in greenhouses, grassy areas, forests, gardens and orchards where they may attain pest status. Their longevity is approximately 5 years, although specimens of H. pomatia have been documented to live for over 20 years.

Synonyms

Helix aperta:

  • Cantareus apertus (Born, 1778)

H. lucorum:

  • Helix taurica Krynicki, 1833
  • Helix radiosa Rossmassler, 1838
  • Helix taurica mut. martensi O. Boettger, 1883
  • Helix ancyrensis haussknechti Kobelt, 1906

References

Anderson 2005; Boycott 1934; Horsak 2004; Kantor et al. 2009; Kerney et al. 1979; Pilsbry 1939; Yildirim et al. 2004

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