MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Cepaea (Cepaea) hortensis (O. F. Müller 1774) White-lipped snail
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Cepaea (Cepaea) hortensis
© Dr Roy Anderson

Map hosted by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford
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A similar shell to C. nemoralis but smaller and more globular. In Ireland the colours tend to be subject to less variation than in C. nemoralis and a yellow ground colour predominates with mid brown, often faint or interrupted, spiral bands. Apertural rib normally white, occasionally pale brown. Localised and mostly eastern in Ireland .

Key characteristics

  • A medium, glossy, globular shell
  • Colour varies less than in C. nemoralis and is mostly yellow to brown with up to five darker bands
  • Lip whitish to (rarely) light brown, never dark brown or black
  • Umbilicus closed
  • Differs internally from C. nemoralis


15-20 mm.

World Distribution

Found across Europe to higher latitudes than C. nemoralis and across Siberia to Pacific coasts. Also in northern North America. Distribution type: Circumpolar Boreo-temperate (56).

GBIF distribution map [open in new tab]

Irish Distribution

Patchily distributed across Ireland (Kerney, 1999) and common only in some central and eastern counties.


  • Kerney (1999) suggests that it prefers shadier and moister places than nemoralis in Britain
  • Such a distinction is not clear in Ireland although, unlike nemoralis, it does not favour coastal dunes
  • While hortensis has a Boreal-continental range more typical of xeric cold-adapted species, nemoralis has a markedly western range (Suboceanic Southern-temperate) and seems better adapted to equable, wet climates
  • On walls, in woodland edge habitats, scrub, disturbed places

Red List status

  • Least concern (lc).

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Cepaea hortensis

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