Grove Snail, Cepaea nemoralis

The Grove Snail (Cepaea nemoralis) is a species of air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk. It is one of the most common species of land snail within Europe and has been introduced to North America.

C. nemoralis is the type species regarding the genus Cepaea. It is used as a model organism in citizen science projects.

This snail species is among the largest due to its polymorphism and bright colors. The color of the shell is very variable, reddish, yellow, whitish, or brownish, with or without dark brown color bands. Apertural lip is usually dark brown but rarely white. The umbilicus is narrow but open in the juveniles, closed in the adults. For every color variant names where established in the 1800s: this was later abandoned. The surface of the shell is semi-glossy and it has from 4.5 to 5.5 whorls. The width of the shell is 18 to 25 millimeters and the height is 12 to 22 millimeters.

Its native distribution is from northern and western Europe to central Europe, including Ireland and Great Britain. It’s rare and scattered in northern Scotland where it has been introduced. It is not found in the Hebrides, Shetland, or Orkney. It seems to have been affected by air pollution and soil acidification in some portions of England. It can be found in France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, eastwards to northwestern Poland, the Czech Republic, SW Hungary, central Spain, southern Portugal, Bosnia, in Italy to Lucania, and as far north as southern Sweden. In Eastern Europe it can be found in Latvia, Estonia, Kaliningrad, and the Ukraine.

As a very common and widespread species, this snail occupies a very wide range of habitats from dunes along the coast to woodlands with full canopy cover. It inhabits shrubs and open woods in plains and highlands, cultivated habitats, dunes, gardens, and roadsides. It can be found up to 1,200 meters in the Alps, 1,800 meters in Pyrenees, 900 meters in Wales, and 600 meters in Scotland.

Like the majority of Pulmonate land snails, it is hermaphrodite and must mate to produce fertile eggs. Mating has a tendency to be concentrated in late spring and early summer, though it can continue through the autumn. The snails often store the sperm that they receive from their partner for some time, and individual broods can have mixed paternity. The size of the egg is 3.1 by 2.6 millimeters and the egg diameters can be 2.3 to 3.0 millimeters. The juveniles hatch after 15 to 20 days and maturity is achieved after the shell is fully grown.

Image Caption: A brown-lipped snail (Cepaea nemoralis). Credit: Mad Max/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)