MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Zenobiella subrufescens (J. S. Miller 1822) Brown Snail
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Zenobiella subrufescens
© Dr Roy Anderson
Zenobiella subrufescens
© Dr Roy Anderson

Map hosted by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford
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A very fragile, thin, depressed-globular shell with a low spire of 4-5 convex whorls with moderate sutures. Slightly shouldered at the periphery. Mouth elliptical, lacking a rib. Surface slightly glossy, thin and translucent, pale brown with fine irregular growth ridges. Widespread but local.

Key characteristics

  • A very thin, translucent brown shell
  • Depressed-globular spire with 4-5 convex whorls with moderate sutures
  • Slightly shouldered at the periphery
  • Animal variable in color from pale to dark grey to lmost black
  • Mouth elliptical lacking an internal rib or thickening


8-10 mm.

World Distribution

Range centred upon the British Isles with a few localities on the western coasts of France. Distribution type: Oceanic temperate (71).

GBIF distribution map [open in new tab]

Irish Distribution

Widespread in an arc around the south, west and north of Ireland but rare or very local in the central plain and in eastern counties.


  • An old woodland relict and confined to old woodland and scrub in glens, river valleys and scarps
  • It often occurs in association with the wood rush, Luzula
  • Appears adept at climbing trees and may often be swept or beaten off trees such as hazel and beech

Red List status

  • Vulnerable (VU).

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Zenobiella subrufescens

 Anderson, R., (2016). Zenobiella subrufescens (J. S. Miller 1822). [In] MolluscIreland. Accessed on 2024-06-21.