MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Vitrea contracta (Westerlund 1871) Milky crystal snail
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Vitrea contracta
© Dr Roy Anderson

Map hosted by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford
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A small, tightly coiled, low-spired shell with the last whorl proportionately narrower than that of V. crystallina. Shell glassy and transparent but often whitish, clouded, even when fresh. Seen through the shell the digestive gland has dark streaks which are less evident in crystallina.

Key characteristics

  • A small, tightly coiled, glassy shell
  • Shell glassy and transparent but often whitish, clouded, even when fresh
  • Width of body (last) whorl less than 1.5X the width of the previous whorl
  • Umbilicus deep and symmetrical
  • Digestive gland often with more dark streaks than V. crystallina
  • Lip of aperture simple, unthickened


2.2-2.6 mm.

World Distribution

Found across central and southern Europe to the Mediterranean. Distribution type: European Southern-temperate (83).

GBIF distribution map [open in new tab]

Irish Distribution

Widespread and common in all but the most acid or waterlogged soils.


  • Mainly a grassland species
  • Occurs in other habitats as well, for example woodland and hedgerows
  • Not in very wet or acid places

Red List status

  • Least concern (lc).

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Vitrea contracta

 Anderson, R., (2016). Vitrea contracta (Westerlund 1871). [In] MolluscIreland. Accessed on 2024-06-21.