Helicella itala

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Helicella itala
Helicella itala 01.JPG
shell of Helicella itala
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: Hygromiidae
Genus: Helicella
Species: H. itala
Binomial name
Helicella itala
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Helicella itala is a species of medium-sized, air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Hygromiidae, the hairy snails and their allies. The common Heath snail is a West Palearctic species found in the British Isles, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Poland. It is now also widely distributed in Australia (first found in Australia in 1891).In English it is known as the Heath snail.

Life cycle[edit]

The size of the egg is 1.5 mm.[1]

Drawing of love dart of Helicella itala.

This species of snail makes and uses love darts during mating.


The 12-20 mm. shell is broad and very depressed with an open coil forming a convex, low spire. The umbilicus is very wide. The whorls are slightly convex and have shallow sutures. The aperture is elliptical and lacks an internal rib. The surface (periostracum) is white or pale yellow-brown and dark brown or yellow-brown spiral bands and fine irregular growth ridges.


The animals live on dry, exposed habitats, such as roadsides and railway embankments, vegetated sand dunes and rock boulders and short grassland. They rise up to 2000 m above sea level in the Alps and Pyrenees.


  1. ^ Heller J.: Life History Strategies. in Barker G. M. (ed.): The biology of terrestrial molluscs. CABI Publishing, Oxon, UK, 2001, ISBN 0-85199-318-4. 1-146, cited page: 428.

External links[edit]