MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Arianta arbustorum (Linnaeus 1758) Copse snail
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Arianta arbustorum
© Dr Roy Anderson
Arianta arbustorum
© 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 large globular shell of 5-6 slightly convex whorls with shallow sutures. Umbilicus tiny and largely closed by the columella. Aperture nearly round with a whitish reflected lip. Surface moderately glossy, of an opaque yellowish-white to warm brown colour with a dark brown to red-brown spiral band on the periphery and usually with paler flecking across the shell. Rare, on limestone in northern districts.

Key characteristics

  • A large globular shell similar in shape and size to the banded snails Cepaea
  • Differs in the yellowish to mid-brown ground colour densely flecked paler (appearing mottled), and the single dark brown to red-brown band on the periphery
  • Umbilicus open, but tiny, and largely closed by the columella
  • Aperture nearly round with a whitish reflected lip


17-22 mm.

World Distribution

Found across west and central Europe but not as far north as the Arctic nor into southern Europe. Distribution type: Suboceanic Boreal-temperate (52).

GBIF distribution map [open in new tab]

Irish Distribution

Almost confined to the northern half of Ireland with two outlying sites in Co. Cork where it may have a recent origin. Its range in the north of Ireland suggests that it may have originated from neighbouring areas of Scotland relatively late in the Postglacial period. A similar sort of distribution and therefore origin is posited for Arion owenii and the carabid beetle Carabus nitens.


  • As its name, copse snail, suggests, mainly found in woodland
  • Also favours rich, fenny, unimproved pasture, scrub woods and rocks in limestone or chalk areas
  • Rarely found in acid terrain although there are a few records of very thin-shelled forms in ancient oak woods on the quartzite rocks of Co. Londonderry

Red List status

  • Vulnerable (VU).

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Arianta arbustorum

 Anderson, R., (2016). Arianta arbustorum (Linnaeus 1758). [In] MolluscIreland. Accessed on 2024-03-02.