Helicigona lapicida

Helicigona lapicida is a species of medium-sized, air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk belonging to the family Helicidae, the typical snails.

This species of snail constructs and utilizes love darts while mating.

It is native to Europe, particularly central Europe. It can be found in west and central Europe, Great Britain, north England, Scotland, Latvia, Kaliningrad, north Italy, and it is isolated in south Ireland.

It inhabits shady limestone rocks, old stone walls, tree trunks, and often in deciduous highland forests. It requires deep crevices in which to hide. Within Switzerland it can be found at up to 2,000 meters in altitude.

It consumes algae and lichens at smooth tree trunks during wet weather. In northern Germany, it is mostly in humid habitats of beech forests. The snails are only active during the rain, one to two hours after rainfall begins, and rarely below 10 degrees Celsius. The snails normally stay at the same tree with a maximum dispersal distance of around 5 meters.

Some 30 small eggs are laid in May to July. There is a high mortality rate among the juveniles during dry weather conditions. Maturity is achieved at the end of the second year, maximum age in natural habitats is around two years, exceptionally three years.

They are threatened in England by the ongoing destruction of old hedgerows as its main habitat, and by pollution of the air.

The shell is about 20 millimeters in maximum dimension. The periphery of the shell is sharply keeled. The umbilicus is wide and the peristome located around the aperture is white and strongly reflected and lipped. The color of the shell is a grey-brown with some red-brown splotches.

Image Caption: Helicigona lapicida, Cap Sizun, Finistère, France. Credit: Jymm/Wikipedia