Location of the island of Great Britain
Location of the island of Great Britain
A plate from G. B. Sowerby's 1859 book Illustrated Index of British Shells shows some shells of British land snails
A plate from G. B. Sowerby's 1859 book Illustrated Index of British Shells shows some shells of British land snails

This list comprises 231 species of non-marine molluscs that have been recorded in the scientific literature as part of the fauna of the island of Great Britain; this total excludes species found only in hothouses and aquaria. The list includes terrestrial and aquatic gastropods, and aquatic bivalves. Molluscs that are fully marine (adapted to live in the sea) are not included here, except for two marine pulmonate snails. In other words, this list includes land snails and slugs, and freshwater and brackish water snails. It also includes freshwater mussels and clams, including some that can tolerate brackish water.

Great Britain is a European island in the northeastern Atlantic, comprising the contiguous countries of England, Scotland and Wales. (Great Britain is not the same entity as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; for more information on the complex nomenclature of this area, please see terminology of the British Isles.) The mollusc fauna of the island of Ireland, which includes both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, is listed in another article: List of non-marine molluscs of Ireland.

A number of species of snails listed here are sometimes also found on lists of marine species. Two listed here, in the genera Onchidella and Otina, are fully marine in habitat, but are pulmonate snails that breathe air at low tide rather than having gills like most marine species. Other species listed here live in habitats that are intermediate between land and saltwater, or in brackish water habitats intermediate between freshwater and full-salinity saltwater.

Additional species are still being added to the list of the non-marine malacofauna of Great Britain. Four of the more recent discoveries are: Papillifera papillaris, first recorded in 1993 but probably the result of introductions with Italian statuary a century or more earlier;[1][2] Selenochlamys ysbryda, a species new to science, which was first found in 2004;[3][4] Candidula olisippensis, discovered on a Cornish cliff in 2011;[5] and Monacha ocellata, found near Tilbury docks in 2017.[6] Other species have been added to the list as a result of taxonomic revisions; for instance, only in 2009 was it recognised that snails previously known as Pupilla muscorum constituted two sibling species occupying different habitats, with both Pupilla muscorum sensu stricto and Pupilla pratensis occurring in Britain.[7] A major revision of the slug fauna published in 2014, partly based on genetic sequencing, established that there were 20% more species than had previously been recognised.[8][9] Not all these species have been definitely identified and some are formally undescribed.

In addition to the species that survive outdoors in Great Britain, there are also another 14 exotic gastropod species (some terrestrial and some aquatic) which live as "uninvited guests" in greenhouses and their enclosed aquaria.[10] These species are known as "hothouse aliens", and are listed separately at the end of the main list. In this list these species are not counted as part of the fauna. Also not included are species such as Eobania vermiculata[11] and Milax nigricans[10] that have been found outdoors on single occasions but seem never to have established persisting populations.

The following table shows a summary of species numbers.

Non-marine molluscs of Great Britain
Gastropods land 152
Gastropods aquatic 48 (including 2 marine pulmonates)
Gastropods total: 200
Bivalves freshwater 31
Mollusc total: 231
Gastropods introduced (in natural habitats): 31 (+16?) land + 4 aquatic
Bivalves introduced (in natural habitats): 3
Molluscs introduced in natural habitats, total: 38–54
Gastropods living as "hothouse aliens" 14 (10 terrestrial + 4 freshwater)
(not included in numbers for total fauna)
Bivalves living as "hothouse aliens" 0


Those species that are recognized as endangered are shown with an E after their name, see List of endangered species in the British Isles.[citation needed]

Some species are protected in the United Kingdom under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981:[12]

Two of the land snails on the list (Fruticicola fruticum and Cernuella neglecta) are now locally extinct (in Great Britain, sometimes abbreviated here as G.B.), but they still occur in other parts of Europe.

Systematic list

The list is arranged by presumed biological affinity, rather than being alphabetical by family.

A number of species are listed with subspecies, in cases where there are well-recognized subspecies in different parts of Europe. For some species a synonym is given, where the species may perhaps be better known under another name.

An attempt has been made to label the families as aquatic, terrestrial or intermediate, and an indication is given where it is thought that the species is introduced. Some introductions to Great Britain are quite ancient, dating from Roman times or even earlier, for example, Paleolithic. Those species that do not have a shell usually do not leave an archeological or fossil record, and therefore it is not always possible to determine whether they are native or introduced. Species are considered to be native, unless otherwise indicated on the list; this information is taken from Kerney, 1999,[13] updated in the case of slugs with the opinions of Rowson et al. 2014.[9]

Note: the images used to illustrate the list are mostly of specimens that were found in other countries.


Shells of Theodoxus fluviatilis
Viviparus contectus
Neritidae - aquatic (this species tolerates brackish water)
Aciculidae - terrestrial
Viviparidae - aquatic
Assimineidae - terrestrial (intermediate marine)
Amnicolidae - aquatic
Bithynia tentaculata
Truncatellidae - terrestrial (intermediate marine)
Bithyniidae - aquatic
Cochliopidae - aquatic
Hydrobiidae - aquatic (some are arguably marine)
Shell of Valvata piscinalis with operculum
Valvatidae - aquatic
Pomatiidae - terrestrial

The following gastropods are pulmonates:

Ellobiidae - terrestrial
Physella acuta
Onchidiidae - aquatic (marine but an intertidal pulmonate)
Otinidae - aquatic (marine but an intertidal pulmonate)
Physidae - aquatic
Lymnaea stagnalis
Lymnaeidae - aquatic
Planorbarius corneus
Planorbidae - aquatic
Acroloxidae - aquatic
Succinea putris
Succineidae - terrestrial (some almost amphibious)
Cochlicopidae - terrestrial
Pyramidulidae - terrestrial
Vertiginidae - terrestrial
Vertigo moulinsiana
Vertigo substriata
Shells of Pupilla muscorum
Shells of Pupilla muscorum
Chondrinidae - terrestrial
Pupillidae - terrestrial
Lauriidae - terrestrial
Shells of Acanthinula aculeata
Valloniidae - terrestrial
Discus rotundatus
Enidae - terrestrial
Punctidae - terrestrial
Helicodiscidae - terrestrial
Discidae - terrestrial
Arion ater
Arion distinctus
Arionidae - terrestrial
Pristilomatidae - terrestrial
Shells of Zonitoides nitidus
Shells of Zonitoides nitidus
Euconulidae - terrestrial
Gastrodontidae - terrestrial
Tandonia budapestensis
Vitrina pellucida
Selenochlamys ysbryda
Oxychilidae - terrestrial
Milacidae - terrestrial
Vitrinidae - terrestrial
Boettgerillidae - terrestrial
Trigonochlamydidae - terrestrial
Limax maximus
Limax cinereoniger
Limacidae - terrestrial
Agriolimacidae - terrestrial
Cochlodina laminata
Ferussaciidae - terrestrial
Clausiliidae - terrestrial
Testacella haliotidea
Testacellidae - terrestrial
Cochlicella barbara
Helicodontidae - terrestrial
Cochlicellidae - terrestrial
Trochulus hispidus
Cepaea nemoralis
Hygromiidae - terrestrial
Bradybaenidae - terrestrial
Helix pomatia
Helicidae - terrestrial


Margaritiferidae - aquatic
Anodonta anatina
Anodonta cygnea
Unionidae - aquatic
Sphaeriidae - aquatic
Dreissena polymorpha
Shell of Corbicula fluminea
Dreissenidae - aquatic
Corbiculidae - aquatic

List of "hothouse alien" species

This group of exotic land and freshwater species are not truly part of the fauna because they do not live in the wild. Many are tropical and thus are incapable of surviving in the wild in Great Britain; instead they have established themselves as uninvited inhabitants of greenhouses, aquaria within greenhouses, and similar artificially-heated habitats.

Melanoides tuberculata
Zonitoides arboreus on orchid plants
Zonitoides arboreus on orchid plants
Thiaridae - aquatic
Gastrodontidae - terrestrial
Lymnaeidae - aquatic
Planorbidae - aquatic
Pleurodiscidae - terrestrial
Pristilomatidae - terrestrial
Rumina decollata
Helicodiscidae - terrestrial
Streptaxidae - terrestrial
Subulinidae - terrestrial

See also


  1. ^ a b Ridout-Sharpe, J. (2005). "Papillifera papillaris (Gastropoda: Clausiliidae): a new record for Britain". The Archeo+Malacology Group Newsletter. 7: 6–7.
  2. ^ a b Ridout-Sharpe, J. (2010). "Papillifera papillaris: a second colony is discovered in England". The Archaeo+Malacology Group Newsletter. 18: 4–6.
  3. ^ Rowson, B.; Symondson, W.O.C. "Selenochlamys ysbryda sp. nov. from Wales, UK: a Testacella-like slug new to Western Europe (Stylommatophora: Trigonochlamydidae)". Journal of Conchology. 39: 537–552.
  4. ^ Reise, H.; Hutchinson, J.M.C. (2009). "An earlier record of the slug Selenochlamys ysbryda from Brecon, UK" (PDF). Journal of Conchology. 40: 103.
  5. ^ a b Holyoak, D.T.; Holyoak, G.A. (2014). "A review of the genus Candidula in Portugal with notes on other populations in Western Europe (Gastropoda, Pulmonata: Hygromiidae)". Journal of Conchology. 41 (6): 629–672.
  6. ^ a b Anderson, R.; Giusti, F.; Telfer, M.; Manganelli, G.; Pieńkowska, J.R.; Lesicki, A. (2018). "Monacha ocellata (Roth, 1839) (Gastropoda: Hygromiidae) established in Essex, an addition to the fauna of Britain and Ireland". Journal of Conchology. 43: 201–211.
  7. ^ Proschwitz, T. von; Schander, C.; Jueg, U.; Thorkildsen, S. (2009). "Morphology, ecology and DNA-barcoding distinguish Pupilla pratensis (Clessin, 1871) from Pupilla muscorum (Linnaeus, 1758) (Pulmonata: Pupillidae)". Journal of Molluscan Studies. 75 (4): 315–322. doi:10.1093/mollus/eyp038.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Rowson. B., Anderson, R., Turner, J.A., Symondson, W.O.C. (2014). "The slugs of Britain and Ireland: undetected and undescribed species increase a well-studied, economically important fauna by more than 20%". PLOS ONE. 9 (4): e91907. Bibcode:2014PLoSO...991907R. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0091907. PMC 3989179. PMID 24740519.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Rowson, B., Turner, J., Anderson, R., Symondson, W. (2014). Slugs of Britain and Ireland: identification, understanding and control. Telford: Field Studies Council. ISBN 978-1-908819-13-0.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ a b Anderson, Roy (2005). "An annotated list of the non-marine molluscs of Britain and Ireland". Journal of Conchology. 38 (6): 607–637. ISSN 1753-2205.
  11. ^ Notton, D. (2006). "Eobania vermiculata in the UK". Mollusc World. 11: 6.
  12. ^ Protection for wild animals on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. website accessed 7 August 2009.
  13. ^ Kerney, Michael, 1999, Atlas of the land and freshwater molluscs of Britain and Ireland, Harley Books, Colchester, England, ISBN 0-946589-48-8
  14. ^ Razkin, O.; Gómez-Moliner, B.; Vardinoyannis, K.; Martínez-Ortí, A.; Madeira, M.J. (2016). "Species delimitation for cryptic species complexes: case study of Pyramidula (Gastropoda, Pulmonata)". Zoologica Scripta. 46 (1): 55–72. doi:10.1111/zsc.12192. S2CID 88990282.
  15. ^ Killeen I. J. (2013). "Whorl snails (Vertigo spp.) surveillance in Scotland: a condition assessment of Geyer’s whorl snail Vertigo geyeri, and the round-mouthed whorl snail Vertigo genesii in Perthshire and the Black Isle". Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 616. PDF.
  16. ^ Owen, C; Rowson, B.; Wilkinson, K. (2016). "First record of the predatory semi-slug Daudebardia rufa (Draparnaud, 1805) from the UK (Eupulmonata: Daudebardiidae)". Journal of Conchology. 42 (3): 119–121.
  17. ^ Welter-Schultes, F. (2013). "Species summary for Limax ecarinatus". AnimalBase. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  18. ^ ICZN (2015). "Opinion 2355 (Case 3581): Turbo bidens Linnaeus, 1758 (Gastropoda, CLAUSILIIDAE): request to set aside the neotype not granted". Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. 72 (2): 159–161. doi:10.21805/bzn.v72i2.a8. S2CID 85669262.
  19. ^ J. Allen, Michael (8 July 2020). Molluscs in Archaeology: Methods, Approaches and Applications. ISBN 9781786851369.
  20. ^ Palmer, P. (2010). "Helix lucorum in Wimbledon, S.W. London". Mollusc World. 23: 12.