MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Radix balthica (Linnaeus 1758) Common pond snail or wandering snail
Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the images
Radix balthica
© Dr Roy Anderson
Radix balthica
© Dr Roy Anderson

Map hosted by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford
To view the species profile on Biodiversity Maps and access the live map, please click on the map.


A moderately large pond snail with a large, oval, body whorl, up to 4/5ths the shell height and with a small spire. Aperture semi-oval, lip not reflected. Rather variable in form, the more extreme soft-water forms possessing bubble shells and sunken spires reminiscent of Myxas glutinosa though without the expanded mantle. Widespread and abundant.

Key characteristics

  • A fairly globose shell with body whorl 4/5ths the shell height
  • Spire short (sunken) in soft water lakeland forms, but short turreted in harder or moving waters
  • Aperture large but not ear-shaped and with a simple, non-reflected lip
  • Spire without a deflection so pointing to the rear when the animal is crawling


15-28 mm.

World Distribution

The range of this species includes all of Europe to western Siberia, and into north Africa, Asia Minor and Afghanistan. Distribution type: broadly Eurosiberian Wide Temperate (64).

GBIF distribution map [open in new tab]

Irish Distribution

Probably the most widespread and common freshwater mollusc, particularly in eutrophic still-water environments.


  • Ubiquitous in still and slowly flowing permanent waters, including lakes, lowland rivers, ditches, quarry flushes and fen pools
  • Found in a great variety of trophic conditions from oligotrophic to hypertrophic
  • Tolerates slight salinity in the upper reaches of saltmarshes


The complex synonymy of this species, formerly known as Lymnaea peregra (O.F. Müller) is discussed by Anderson (2005).

Red List status

  • Least concern (lc).

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Radix balthica

 Anderson, R., (2016). Radix balthica (Linnaeus 1758). [In] MolluscIreland. Accessed on 2024-06-24.