MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Truncatella subcylindrica (Linnaeus 1767) Looping Snail
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Truncatella subcylindrica
© Dr Roy Anderson
Truncatella subcylindrica
© Dr Roy Anderson

Map hosted by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford
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A small operculate snail with a high, narrow spire when young, but this is lost in adults which become decollate (see images). Surface smooth, matt brownish-white. Animal pale, walking with a looping movement. Confined to gravelly marine foreshores. Galway Bay only.

Key characteristics

  • Small operculate shell, narrowly conical when young but decollate (blunt-topped) when adult due to loss of the spire
  • Surface brown-white, faintly glossy to dull, smooth (radially channelled or ribbed in some European forms)
  • Animal pale, moves by an exaggerated looping movement like a caterpillar


3.5-5 mm.

World Distribution

On coasts from the British Isles to the Mediterranean and as far east as the Black Sea. Distribution type: Mediterranean-Atlantic (91).

GBIF distribution map [open in new tab]

Irish Distribution

Its known distribution encompasses most of the south side of Galway Bay. Added to the Irish List from Carrowmore and Rincarna Lagoons (Nunn et al., 2005) in the inner part of the Bay with five further sites being found at Finavarra, Killeenaran, Parknahallagh and Bishop’s Quarter, further to the west. Nicholls (1900) mentions a record of “Truncatella truncatula (Drap.)” for Bundoran in East Donegal where a shell was reportedly taken among shell sand by a Mrs Hancock (fide Thompson (1856)). Jeffreys (1862) regarded the record as a mistake but the finds in Galway Bay may prompt a re-evaluation of this early record.


  • Lives on marine foreshores or saltmarshes
  • Found sparingly under large stones around high tide level on muddy gravel or stony beaches
  • In saltmarshes or by coastal lagoons, occasional under stones among sea purslane or sea blite

Red List status

  • Critically endangered (CR).

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Truncatella subcylindrica

 Anderson, R., (2016). Truncatella subcylindrica (Linnaeus 1767). [In] MolluscIreland. Accessed on 2024-03-02.