MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Vitrea crystallina (O. F. Müller 1774) Crystal snail
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Vitrea crystallina
© 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 depressed, tightly coiled shell with last whorl broader than in the related V. contracta. Surface smooth, glossy, greenish-white to white in colour. Umbilicus very narrow and slightly excentric. Often has a whitish thickening set back from the shell aperture. The digestive gland is usually a uniform pale colour with few darker streaks, seen through the shell. Widespread in sheltered places.

Key characteristics

  • A medium-small, glassy, depressed and tightly coiled shell
  • Last whorl about 1.5X the width of the previous whorl
  • Umbilicus very narrow and excentric (not evenly round)
  • Often has a whitish thickening set back from the shell aperture
  • The digestive gland is usually a uniform pale grey or brown without dark streaks, seen through the shell


3-4 mm.

World Distribution

With a slightly more northerly range in Europe than V. contracta and not reaching the Mediterranean. Distribution type: European Temperate (73).

GBIF distribution map [open in new tab]

Irish Distribution

Widely distributed and common on all but deep peat soils.


  • Mainly in shaded habitats
  • Also occasionally in fens and marshes
  • Usually in deep leaf litter or moss, rarely in soil unlike V. contracta

Red List status

  • Least concern (lc).

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Vitrea crystallina

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