Family Vitrinidae Fitzinger, 1833

Vitrinids are snails and “semislugs” having a delicate, translucent external shell which consists of a few whorls. A fleshy mantle lobe extends over the upper surface of the shell when the animal is extended. This family was often included within a broadly encompassing Zonitidae, but vitrinids are now grouped in the Limacoidea (Hausdorf 1998, 2002). Although the family includes at least 18 genera (Giusti et al. 2011), just one genus occurs in the Nearctic region; the greatest diversity is in the Palaearctic. There are two species in Canada, one western and one eastern. However, the east–west division in the geographic ranges of these species is uncertain. These two species seem only to be distinguishable by differences in their genital anatomy; the publications of Forcart (1955), Schileyko (1966), and Giusti et al. (2011) provide excellent figures of the genitalia.

Species in Canada
Vitrina angelicae Beck, 1837
Vitrina pellucida (O. F. Müller, 1774)

Genus Vitrina Draparnaud, 1801

  • Vitrina Draparnaud [1801]: 33, 98; type species by monotypy: Helix pellucida O. F. Müller, 1774.

This genus, with fewer than 10 species, occurs throughout the Holarctic and also in the Hawaiian Islands (Baker 1941, Schileyko 2003). There are two species in North America with both occurring in Canada.

Etymology. From the Latin: vitrum, glass. Feminine.

Key to species of Vitrina in Canada

  • a Penis not enclosed in a sheath. Duct of bursa copulatrix not swollen at its base where it meets the atrium — V. angelicae
  • b Penis enclosed in a sheath. Duct of bursa copuatrix swollen at its base — V. pellucida