MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Oxychilus (Oxychilus) alliarius (J. S. Miller 1822) Garlic snail
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Oxychilus (Oxychilus) alliarius
© Dr Roy Anderson
Oxychilus (Oxychilus) alliarius
© Dr Roy Anderson

Map hosted by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford
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A small shell of 4-4 slightly convex whorls with moderately deep sutures. Surface glossy and translucent, pale brown or greenish. Animal dark blue-grey, rarely pale grey, with mantle edge of the same colour. When gently disturbed the animal produces a strong odour of garlic. Very common.

Key characteristics

  • A small, glossy, depressed shell with a striking odour of garlic when disturbed
  • Whorls more convex than those of similarly sized O. cellarius
  • Colour pale brown or greenish translucent
  • Animal dark blue-grey (common) or pale grey (rare) with mantle edge of a similar shade


5.5-7 mm.

World Distribution

Mainly western Europe from the British Isles across the Low Countries to north Germany and Scandinavia. Coastal in Scandinavia northwards to the Arctic Circle. Distribution type: Suboceanic Temperate (72).

GBIF distribution map [open in new tab]

Irish Distribution

Widespread and abundant.


  • Common in a great variety of woodland types including conifer plantings, in litter and under bark of dead wood
  • Frequent in birch wood margins (lagg) of raised peat - also on upland heath
  • Very waterlogged soils tend to be avoided.

Red List status

  • Least concern

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Oxychilus alliarius

 Anderson, R., (2016). Oxychilus (Oxychilus) alliarius (J. S. Miller 1822). [In] MolluscIreland. Accessed on 2024-03-02.