MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Myxas glutinosa (O. F. Müller 1774) Glutinous snail
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Myxas glutinosa
© Dr Roy Anderson
Myxas glutinosa
© Dr Roy Anderson

Map hosted by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford
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Like a small, spireless Radix balthica but the voluminous mantle covers a good proportion of the shell in the living animal giving a spongy, wet feel when picked up. The mantle is never reflected over the shell in other pond snail species. Shell extremely thin, fragile, light brown. Very rare and declining.

Key characteristics

  • A small bubble-shaped shell with very large, globular, body whorl and the spire almost completely recessed into this
  • Shell thin, transparent and fragile and with a smooth, glossy surface
  • Mantle of the living animal expands to cover the shell almost completely


12-15 mm.

World Distribution

A north European species distributed from the Alps to the Arctic Circle. In severe decline throughout its range and globally threatened. Distribution type: European Boreo-temperate (53).

GBIF distribution map [open in new tab]

Irish Distribution

Extremely localised in central and western Ireland. Still common in places along the Royal and Grand Canals in but evidently in decline even there. Formerly in the River Bann at Portadown, Co. Armagh (W.A. Greer, 1900), the Toome Canal, Co. Antrim (R. J. Welch, 1900) and the Newry Canal, Co. Armagh, but not seen at these places since the early decades of the twentieth-century and extinct in northern counties.


  • Prefers hard bottoms in the slow-moving water of deeper rivers, lakes and canals
  • Can be erratic in its appearances
  • Probably intolerant of enrichment from agriculture (Kerney, 1999) which would in large part account for its present scarcity
  • Conditions in the Grand Canal suggest a fairly low trophic status holds there at present i.e. little enrichment or eutrophication

Red List status

  • Endangered (EN).

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Myxas glutinosa

 Anderson, R., (2016). Myxas glutinosa (O. F. Müller 1774). [In] MolluscIreland. Accessed on 2024-03-02.