Cochlicopidae

Family Cochlicopidae Pilsbry, 1900

In Canada, this family is represented by one genus, Cochlicopa, and at least one or possibly more species. Cochlicopa lubrica is gregarious and lives under wood, rocks, vegetation, and debris, in leaf litter. They are often associated with concrete structures such as walkways, culverts, and discarded concrete debris. There are accounts in the literature of huge numbers of individuals and speculation that these congregations are in response to environmental changes, proceeding or during a storm or when the ground is saturated (Roscoe 1962). Pilsbry (1948) suggested that these gatherings were for mating, but this species reproduces predominantly by self-fertilization (Armbruster & Schlegel 1994).

Cochlicopa is widespread throughout the Holarctic realm. There are probably six to eight species (Schileyko 1998), although Starobogatov (1996), considering mostly relative shell proportions, believed that there are 28 species in the Palaearctic alone. Size and relative dimensions of shells have been found not reliable for determination of some species in the genus, it is reasonable to assume that many of Starobogatov’s taxa are synonyms.

Both Cochlicopa and Cionella have been used interchangeably in the literature for many years for this group. Until quite recently, North American literature has mostly followed Pilsbry (1948) in using Cionella, butRoth (2003) demonstrated that Cochlicopa is the valid name for this genus, which is in line with the modern European usage.

Schileyko (1998) recognized two subgenera within Cochlicopa: the Holarctic Cochlicopa sensu stricto, and the exclusively Asian Sinizua Starobogatov, 1996.

Genus Cochlicopa A. Férussac, 1821

  • Cochlicopa A. Férussac 1821 (1821–1822): 28; type species by subsequent designation (Gittenberger & Waldén in Gittenberger 1983: Helix lubrica O. F. Müller, 1774).
  • Cionella Jeffreys 1830: 347; type species by subsequent designation (Kobelt 1880: 216 Illustr. Conchlienb. // Westerlund 1902: 151): Helix lubrica O. F. Müller, 1774

Etymology. Greek, kochlias, snail shell + kopto, to cut. Feminine.


Subgenus Cochlicopa A. Férussac, 1821

Cochlicopa (Cochlicopa) lubrica (O. F. Müller, 1774)
Other species?