MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Helicigona lapicida (Linnaeus 1758) Lapidary snail
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Helicigona lapicida
© Dr Roy Anderson

Map hosted by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford
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Shell moderately large, flattened both above and below and very sharply keeled at the periphery. On the upper side with 5 very flattened whorls with shallow sutures. Aperture elliptical and notched at the keel. Umbilicus wide and deep. Surface opaque, dull, mid brown with a pattern of darker radial blotches and with a distinctive granular microsculpture giving a shagreened effect. Regionally extinct

Key characteristics

  • A moderately large, flattened, dull brown-black shell
  • Flattened both above and below with a sharply keeled periphery
  • Surface dull and with a granular microsculpture making it appear shagreened
  • Aperture elliptical and notched where it meets the keel
  • Umbilicus wide and deep


15-20 mm.

World Distribution

Found across western Europe from southern Scandinavia to the western Mediterranean. Distribution type: Suboceanic Southern Temperate (72).

GBIF distribution map [open in new tab]

Irish Distribution

Known in Ireland only from limestone bluffs in the gorge of the River Blackwater at Carrick-a-Brick Castle near Fermoy, East Cork (Phillips, 1914). Its status as a native is questionable according to Kerney (1972), who failed to find living material during a visit to the site in 1971. Live specimens have not been found in recent times.


  • In Britain the lapidary snail is known mostly from limestone rocks and quarries
  • Elsewhere mainly in hedgerows and woods on well-drained, chalky soils
  • A declining species also in Britain

Red List status

  • Regionally extinct (RE).

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Helicigona lapicida

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