Cecilioides acicula

Cecilioides (Cecilioides) acicula (O. F. Müller, 1774)
Blind Awlsnail

  • Buccinum aciculum O. F. Müller 1774: 150.
  • Many additional synonyms in Europe.
Cecilioides acicula
Cecilioides acicula, Ontario.

Identification. Shell very elongate. Spire tall, slender, sides almost straight. Apex bluntly rounded. Whorls flatly rounded; periphery rounded. Suture shallow, with a “false suture” below. Protoconch smooth. Teleoconch smoothish, glossy, with weak incremental lines. Aperture narrow, acute above, edentulous. Outer lip thin, simple. No umbilicus. Columella truncate below. Shell translucent, clear but opaque and whitish when weathered. Height to 5.5 mm (higher than wide).

Animal white and eyeless (blind).

Habitat. Mostly subterranean; in calcium-rich habitats. In Canada, so far only ever found in stream drift, but presumably living in nearby.

Global range. Probably originally native to the Mediterranean region; now widespread in Central and Western Europe, Arabia, and North Africa; east through Crimea, Caucasus, Central Asia from Köpet Dagh to Pamiro-Alai (Sysoev & Schileyko 2009); Ukrainian Ciscarpathia, & Transcarpathia (Sverlova 2006). Now introduced to South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Bermuda, Barbados, Argentina; USA, including Hawaii, and Canada.

Canadian range. Introduced to southern Ontario; although presently known only from drift of the Grand River and Bowmanville Creek, a small stream east of Toronto (Forsyth et al. 2008). Although living animals are unknown, this is not unexpected for a mostly subterranean species (Kerney 1999, Forsyth et al. 2008); established populations out of doors are likely. Specimens were recovered in drift from two separate drainages, which implies broader occurrence in southern Ontario.

Etymology. Latin, acicula, “a small pin”.


  • Forsyth RG, Oldham MJ, Schueler FW (2008) Mollusca, Gastropoda, Ellobiidae, Carychium minimum, and Ferussaciidae, Cecilioides acicula: Distribution extension and first provincial records of two introduced land snails in Ontario, Canada. Check List 4: 449–452.
  • Kerney M (1999) Atlas of the land and freshwater molluscs of Britain and Ireland. Harley Books, Colchester, Essex, U.K., 264 pp.
  • Müller OF (1774) Vermium terrestrium et fluviatilium, seu animalium Infusorium, Helminthicorum, et Testaceorum, non marinorum, succincta historia. Volumen alterum: Testacea. Heineck & Faber, Havniæ & Lipsia, xxxvi + 214 + [x] pp.
  • Sysoev A, Schileyko A (2009) Land snails and slugs of Russia and adjacent countries. Pensoft, Sofia/Moscow, 212 pp. + 142 pls.