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For the plant genus, see its synonym Sedum.
White-lipped snail Cepaea hortensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Heterobranchia
clade Euthyneura
clade Panpulmonata
clade Eupulmonata
clade Stylommatophora
informal group Sigmurethra
Superfamily: Helicoidea
Family: Helicidae
Genus: Cepaea
Held, 1838[1]
Type species
Helix nemoralis
Linnaeus, 1758[2]

Cepaea is a genus of medium-sized air-breathing land snails, terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusks in the family Helicidae. The shells of species within this genus are often brightly colored and patterned with stripes.[3] Species from this genus, in particular the common and widespread C. nemoralis and C. hortensis, have been model species for early studies of genetics and natural selection.[4] They occur in Europe, although introduced populations occur elsewhere in the world.[2]

Like many Helicidae, this genus of snails create and use love darts.[3]


Four species are currently classified in the genus Cepaea.[2]

A comparison between Cepaea hortensis (left) and Cepaea vindobonensis (right)

However, molecular phylogenetic studies suggest that the latter two should be placed in unrelated genera:[5]


  1. ^ Held, F. (1838). "Notizen über die Weichthiere Bayerns. (Fortsetzung)". Isis (Leipzig). 1837 (12): 902–921. 
  2. ^ a b c "Genus summary for Cepaea". AnimalBase. 15 August 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Robert Nordsieck. "Banded Snails (Cepaea Held 1838)". The Living World of Molluscs. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Jones JS, Heith BH, Ralwings P (1977). "Polymorphism in Cepaea: a problem with too many solutions?". Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics. 8: 109–143. doi:10.1146/annurev.es.08.110177.000545. 
  5. ^ Neiber MT, Hausdorf B (2015). "Molecular phylogeny reveals the polyphyly of the snail genus Cepaea (Gastropoda: Helicidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 93: 143–149. PMID 26256642. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2015.07.022. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Yamazaki N., Ueshima R., Terrett J. A., Yokobori S., Kaifu M., Segawa R., Kobayashi T., Numachi K., Ueda T., Nishikawa K., Watanabe K., Thomas R. H. (1997). "Evolution of pulmonate gastropod mitochondrial genomes: comparisons of complete gene organizations of Euhadra, Cepaea and Albinaria and implications of unusual tRNA secondary structures". Genetics. 145: 749–758.