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For the plant genus, see its synonym Sedum.

White-lipped snail Cepaea hortensis
Scientific classification

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] The two species from this genus, 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]


For along time, four species were classified in the genus Cepaea.[2]

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

However, molecular phylogenetic studies suggested that the latter two should be placed in the unrelated genera Macularia and Caucasotachea:[5][6]


  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. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2015.07.022. PMID 26256642.
  6. ^ Neiber MT, Sagorny C, Hausdorf B (2016). "Increasing the number of molecular markers resolves the phylogenetic relationship of 'Cepaea' vindobonensis (Pfeiffer 1828) with Caucasotachea Boettger 1909 (Gastropoda: Pulmonata: Helicidae)". Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 54 (1): 40–45. doi:10.1111/jzs.12116.

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.