Arianta arbustorum

Arianta arbustorum (Linnaeus, 1758)
Copse Snail

  • Helix arbustorum Linnaeus 1758: 771.
  • Many additional synonyms in Europe.
Arianta arbustorum, Saint John, New Brunswick
Arianta arbustorum, Saint John, New Brunswick.

Identification. Shell subglobose. Spire elevated, conical. Whorls convex. Periphery rounded. Protoconch smooth. Teleoconch with irregular, low, round-topped colabral wrinkles, minute spiral striae (in some, obsolete on middle of last whorl). Aperture nearly round, without teeth. Last whorl descending when shell full grown. Lip not much thickened in adults, strongly expanded. Umbilicus closed. Shell glossy, opaque; brown with yellowish flecks, more or less arranged in colabral rows; 1 dark brown band above periphery; lip white.

Animal very dark, grey, or nearly black, but slightly paler towards the margins of the foot.

Habitat. In gardens, vacant land, along roads, and functioning and former railroads (now trails).

Canadian range. Introduced. Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario (Whiteaves 1904, McAlpine et al. 2009, McAlpine & Forsyth 2014, Picard et al. 2017).

Etymology. Latin: inhabiting copses.

Remarks. Arianta arbustorum is polytypic and with a broad range over much of Europe. It occurs in both lowland and mountainous regions, with morphologically distinct mountain stocks recognized by some authors as subspecies (e.g. Gittenberger 1991). The lowland, broadly distributed form is the nominotypical subspecies, A. arbustorum arbustorum, appears to be the form introduced to Canada.


  • Gittenberger E (1991) Altitudinal variation and adaptive zones in Arianta arbustorum: a new look at a widespread species. Journal of Molluscan Studies 57: 99–109.
  • Linnaeus C (1758) Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii, Holmiæ, [4] + 824 pp.
  • McAlpine DF, Forsyth RG (2014) Occurrence of the Copse Snail, Arianta arbustorum (Helicidae) on Prince Edward Island: an addition to the North American range of a purported potential pest. Northeastern Naturalist 21: N5–N7.
  • McAlpine DF, Schueler F, Maunder JE, Noseworthy RG, Sollows MC (2009) Establishment and persistence of the copse snail, Arianta arbustorum (Linnaeus, 1758) (Gastropoda: Helicidae) in Canada. The Nautilus 123: 14–18.
  • Picard I, Deroches J-F, Ethier G (2017) Première mention de l’hélice des bois (Arianta arbustorum) au Québec et mention anecdotique du petit-gris (Cornu aspersum). Le naturaliste canadien 141: 27–30.
  • Whiteaves JF (1904) Helicigona arbustorum in Newfoundland. The Ottawa Naturalist 17: 192.