THE LAND SNAILS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Oregon Forestsnail, photo by Ryan Durand
By Robert G. Forsyth
Royal British Columbia Museum
There are about 94 species of terrestrial snails and slugs in British Columbia, but it seems likely that this number will increase as additional species are recognized from the province. Snails and slugs are gastropods (class Gastropoda) belonging to a large and successful group of invertebrate animals known as molluscs (phylum Mollusca). Strictly speaking, in British Columbia all of our terrestrial gastropods possess a ‘lung’ for respiration rather than gills, which are typical of most aquatic forms, and belong to the order (or subclass) Pulmonata. However, there frequently live several other somewhat amphibious snails — often in close proximity to ‘typical’ land snails — that are traditionally treated as components of either the freshwater (Bakerilymnaea bulimoides and Fossaria spp.) or semi-marine fauna (Littorina subrotundata, Cecina manchurica, Assiminea translucens and Myosotella myosotis). In other parts of the world, and especially in the tropics, gill-bearing, ‘prosobranch’ gastropods have fully adapted to life on land.
Pacific Sideband, photo by Ryan Durand
Land snails and slugs live in a wide variety of terrestrial habits throughout British Columbia— including forests of all types, rock slides, alpine tundra and meadows and marshes. Many of these are not native, live in city gardens and in other modified habitats.
At least 26 species of terrestrial snails and slugs in British Columbia are introduced. Most of these exotic species are ultimately of European origin, but their date of arrival and means of introduction are not known. It can be inferred, however, that most arrived through passive dispersal on imported plants, and snails, slugs and their eggs continue to be dispersed between neighbourhoods and around British Columbia this way, or with garden refuse, soil, wood, rocks, and other materials.
TERRESTRIAL SNAILS AND SLUGS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
|BC List Status
|Waxy Glass Snail
|Coeur d'Alene Oregonian
|Warty Jumping Slug
USEFUL LITERATURE FOR IDENTIFYING
TERRESTRIAL SNAILS AND SLUGS OF BC
Forsyth, R. G. 2004. Land Snails of British Columbia. Royal B.C. Museum Handbook. Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum. iv, 188 pp., 8 col. pp.
Pilsbry, H. A. 1939. Land Mollusca of North America (north of Mexico), 1(1). The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Monographs 3: i-xvii + 1-573 + i-ix.
Pilsbry, H. A. 1940. Land Mollusca of North America (north of Mexico), 1(2). The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Monographs 3: viii + 994 + ix pp.
Pilsbry, H. A. 1946. Land Mollusca of North America (north of Mexico), 2(1). The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Monographs 3: frontis., i-vi, 1-520.
Pilsbry, H. A. 1948. Land Mollusca of North America (north of Mexico), 2(2). The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Monographs 3: i-xlvii + 521-1113 pp.
USEFUL LITERATURE FOR IDENTIFYING EUROPEAN SPECIES INTRODUCED TO BC
Cameron, R. 2003. Land snails in the British Isles. Field Studies Council, Occasional Publication 79: iv + 82 pp
Cameron, R. A. D., B. Eversham, & N. Jackson. 1983. A field key to the slugs of the British Isles. Field Studies 5: 807-824.
Kerney, M. P., & R. A. D. Cameron. 1979. A field guide to the land snails of Britain and north-west Europe. London: Collins. 288pp, 24 pls.
COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Dromedary Jumping-slug, Hemphillia dromedarius, in Canada.
COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Oregon Forestsnail, Allogona townsendiana, in Canada:.
COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Puget Oregonian snail, Cryptomastix devia, in Canada.
COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Warty Jumping-slug, Hemphillia glandulosa, in Canada.
Gastroclass: Gastropod classification. http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/projects/gastroclass/
Land Snails of British Columbia: http://www3.telus.net/rforsyth/
North American Land Snail Links: http://www.unc.edu/%7Ekeperez/land%20snail%20webpage.html
Terrestrial Gastropods of the Columbia Basin, British Columbia: http://www.livinglandscapes.bc.ca/cbasin/molluscs/contents.html
Terrestrial Gastropods of the Peace River – Northern Rockies of British Columbia: http://www.livinglandscapes.bc.ca/prnr/prnr_snails/index.html
Terrestrial Gastropods of the Upper Fraser Basin of British Columbia: http://www.livinglandscapes.bc.ca/upperfraserbasin/ufb_snails/index.html