Heath snail in the Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland. Vulnerable on the Irish Red List
<em>Helicella itala</em> (Linnaeus, 1758)
A widespread species which remains fairly comon by the sea in west and north Britain and also more generally in Ireland. However, there is growing evidence that the populations in southern and eastern England have declined sharply over the last century. The reasons for this are unclear but may be related to change in use of chalk and limestone grassland.
Western European species occurring from the Mediterranean north to British Isles and Denmark.
Generally inhabits dry, sunny calcareous places most typically on short-turfed chalk and limestone grassland. It is also found in diused quarries, seacliffs and sandhills. In hot dry weather may attach itself for long periods to the stalks of plants. In Ireland the distribution generally extends to moister habitats.
- Cernuella virgata - is taller and has a smaller umbilicalis
- Cepaea nemoralis / hortensis - lack the umbilicalis
- Relatively large (more than 7mm wide)
- Very large umbilicalis
- No lip / calluses on mouth (though may possess weak internal rib)
- Usually has spiral bands
Size: 9-25mm width; 5-12 tall. Shape: Almost flat on top (spire very slightly elevated) but convex below. Umbilicalis very broad and open.