An extremely rare land snail from Borneo - Vitrinula sp.

These photos show a rare species of land snails of the genus Vitrinula, probably Vitrinula muluensis (Stylommatophora - Ariophantidae), found on the climb up Gunung Api to the Pinnacles overlook, in Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Borneo.

The most interesting feature of these snails is that the animal has two mantle-lobes as metallic-colored tendrils covering part of front of shell, which continually lick the shell. Those tendrils are in fact a double penis which exceed the periphery of the shell and are a diagnostic feature of the genus.

Little is known about this rarely seen species, which is not surprising considering that they have a very restricted habitat in the karst area of Gunung Mulu, since as Clements et al. (2008) indicate, limestone karsts on tropical land masses are considered de facto habitat islands due to their isolation from one another by non-calcareous substrata; this spatial configuration limits gene flow and induces high levels of species endemism.

Photo credit: [Top: ©ccdoh1 | Locality: Gunung Api, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia (2009)] - [Bottom: ©Alan Cressler | Locality: Gunung Api, Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia (2009)]

References: [1] - [2]


Emerald Green Snail (Papustyla pulcherrima)

Also known as the Green Tree Snail or Manus Green Tree Snail, the emerald green snail is a species of terrestrial camaenid gastropod that is endemic to Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Emerald green snails typically inhabit rain forests and are usually found in trees.

Although Papustyla pulcherrima is listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN it faces severe threats due to overharvesting for commercial purposes and habitat loss.


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Images: Dennis Hill and Tim Ross

Vineyard Snail - Cernuella virgata 

The Vineyard Snail, scientifically named Cernuella virgata (Stylommatophora - Hygromiidae), and also referred to as Mediterranean Snail, Common White Snail, and Maritime Garden Snail, is a tiny terrestrial gastropod native to Mediterranean region and Western Europe including the British Isles, France, Morocco, and northwest Spain.  

This species has been established in southern Australia where it is regarded as an agricultural pest, and in the United States is listed as an exotic organism of high invasive risk.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Richard Collier | Locality: not indicated (2014)


“Blue Slug” (Bielzia coerulans)

Also commonly known as the Carpathian Blue Slug, the blue slug is a large species of keelback slug (Limacidae) that is endemic to the Carpathian Mountains in Eastern Europe. B. coerulans typically inhabits both deciduous and coniferous forests in its range and is usually seen in leaf litter and under dead wood. Like other slugs blue slugs are generalists and will feed on mushrooms. lichens, and plant matter.


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Images: Alex Zelenko and Martian Vaculik

Red Triangle Slug (Triboniophorus graeffei)

…a large species of terrestrial Athoracophorid slug which is endemic to eastern Australia, where it is often seen in numerous damp areas, like forests, woodlands, gardens, and shrubland. Like other species of slug, red triangle slugs feed mainly on algae which are grazed of the surface of trees and rocks. T. graeffei can be very variable in color, and research is currently being done to  determine if some variations are separate species/subspecies. 


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Image: Rus Runciman

Panther Agate Snail - Achatina immaculata

Achatina immaculata (Stylommatophora - Achatinidae) is a species of giant land snail native to southeast Africa, including Madagascar. It is also referred to as Pink-lipped Agate Snail, Immacs, and Giant Blonde Snail. 

Shells of this species can reach 5-10 cm long. The body is light, and shell is cream or pale yellow with dark brown stripes. The mollusk has two pairs of tentacles, the larger pair bearing eyes at tips, and the smaller pair located either side of mouth.

Achatina immaculata is a very special and culturally important shell in Africa and has been used since the Iron Age for a number of different purposes. African women used the shells to dig clay for their clay pots and beads and cups were made from the shell. The Mapungubwe people, who lived about 1100 AD used the shells as offerings to their gods.

References: [1] - [2] - [3] - [4]

Photo credit: ©Bernard Dupont (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) | Locality: H7 Road East of Orpen, Kruger NP, Mpumalanga, South Africa (2013)


Rosy Wolfsnail (Euglandina rosea)

…also sometimes known as the “Cannibal Snail” the rosy wolfsnail is a large species of predatory spiraxid land snail that is native to tropical North America, but has been become invasive elsewhere. True to what its common name eludes to Euglandina rosea is a predator and will feed on other species of snails and slugs which are caught and ingested whole. Due to its habit as a voracious predator E. rosea has been purposely introduced in Hawaii in attempts to eliminate the invasive giant African land snail (Achatina fulcia), however E. rosea not only attacked A. fulcia but other species like Achatinella spp., hunting them to near extinction.


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Images: Dylan Parker and Tim Ross

Liguus fasciatus, Turner River, Calusa shell mounds, Everglades National Park, Collier County, Florida | ©Alan Cressler

Liguus fasciatus (Stylommatophora - Orthalicidae) is a protected species within the Everglades National Park and several local, state, and federal conservation areas throughout the Keys in Florida.

This tree snail also occurs in Cuba and Isle of Pines.



Sphincterochila boissieri 

…an interesting species of Sphicterochilid land snail that inhabits deserts in Israel and Egypt, specifically in the Negev and Sinai deserts. S. boissieri is one of the few gastropods (along with Xerocrassa seetzeni and others) to inhabit such a harsh environment and thus has evolved several adaptations to avoid desiccation. One of the first is a very thick shell with a reduced aperture, a thick epiphragm and slow body surface heat conduction.  Its shell also reflects around 90% of the visible and solar spectra During the summer S. boissieri will dig itself into the soil and begin to aestivate (a form of dormancy), while dormant S. boissieri can resist temperatures up to 50°C (122°F) and will experience water loss of only 0.5 mg per day, with a low oxygen consumption rate, which allows S. boissieri to survive droughts for years! When Sphincterochila boissieri is not dormant it feeds mainly on soil, mainly loess mud, lichen, soil algae and limestone. 


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Image(s): Wilson44691

Land Snail - Suboestophora hispanica 

This is a cave dweller snail, scientifically named Suboestophora hispanica (Stylommatophora - Trissexodontidae). The species is endemic to the provinces of Alicante and Valencia in Spain, where has a very restricted distribution.

This pulmonate snail inhabits in caves with high humidity, and also in pine and evergreen oak forests and Mediterranean shrubs. It feeds almost exclusively on fungi growing on the walls and floor. The shell is very tiny, it only measures up to 6.69 mm height and 13.64 mm diameter.

Suboestophora hispanica is listed as Vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Alejandro Snailman | Locality: Valencia, Spain (2010)

Semi-slug - Helicarion sp.  

Helicarion (Stylommatophora - Helicarionidae) is an Australian genus of land snail also known as semi-slugs. They are common amongst logs and litter on the floor of wetter forests throughout Tasmania and elsewhere in Australia. The unusually pale colour of this specimen suggests that it’s a distinct taxon still awaiting its own scientific name.

Photo and text credits: ©Simon Grove | Locality: Central Plateau, Tasmania (2014)

Cuban Land Snail  (Painted Snail)

Polymita picta (Stylommatophora - Helminthoglyptidae) is the scientific name of this beautiful snail, commonly known as Cuban land snail. As its common name suggests, Polymita picta is endemic to Cuba and is distributed in the northeastern portion of Camagüey and in all the eastern provinces, especially in the regions of Baracoa and Maisí.

The scientific name of this snail refers to the multicolored bands that may have the shells.

Reference: [1]

Photo: ©Rafael Medina

Locality: Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, Cuba

“Worm Slug” (Boettgerilla pallens)

…a species of terrestrial Boettgerillid slug which occurs in parts of Europe, including the SW flank of the Caucasus, and presumably the Crimean Mountains in Ukraine. It has also been introduced to many other areas in Europe. B. pallens occupies a wide range of habitats, including gardens, grassland, coniferous/deciduous woodlands and is very tolerant of a wide range of soil pH and calcium/water content. Like other slugs B. pallens is a omnivore and will feed on a range of items.


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Image: Jozef Grego