MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Cepaea (Cepaea) nemoralis (Linnaeus 1758) Brown-lipped snail
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Cepaea (Cepaea) nemoralis
© Dr Roy Anderson
Cepaea (Cepaea) nemoralis
© 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 medium to large globular shell with a slightly conical spire of 5 moderately convex whorls and shallow sutures. Aperture with a thickened dark brown lip. Umbilicus closed. Surface glossy, yellow through brown to red or pink with up to five dark spiral bands which may be missing or fused. Very common.

Key characteristics

  • A large glossy, globular shell
  • Ground colour varies greatly, from yellow through brown to red or pink with up to five dark spiral bands or none
  • Aperture with a thickened brown lip, but white lipped variants occur in one or two sand dune sites in the west of Ireland (these being internally distinct from the true white-lipped snail Cepaea hortensis)
  • Umbilicus completely closed


18-25 mm.

World Distribution

Unlike the very similar Cepaea hortensis, which is circumpolar, this species is confined to central and western Europe south to the Mediterranean. Distribution type: European Southern-temperate (83).

GBIF distribution map [open in new tab]

Irish Distribution

Frequent throughout but most abundant in coastal localities, particularly dunes.


  • Mostly in shaded, rocky or humanly disturbed habitats such as gardens .
  • Can be sparsely distributed on acid soils where shells are thin and fragile
  • Most abundant and well developed on coastal dunes
  • Generally prefers sheltered dry places

Red List status

  • Least concern (lc).

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Cepaea nemoralis

 Anderson, R., (2016). Cepaea (Cepaea) nemoralis (Linnaeus 1758). [In] MolluscIreland. Accessed on 2024-03-02.