Overview

Comprehensive Description

Cette espèce fait l'objet d'un projet de sciences participatives en relation avec l'INPN et mené en partenariat avec Noé Conservation (www.biodiversite-foret.fr).
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) European native introduced in other areas throughout the world.

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Range Description

This species is widespread in central and eastern Europe, and locally abundant. It is recorded from Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
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Geographic Range

Helix pomatia is indigenous to Central and Southeast Europe, but has been moved by humans all over Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Introduced ); palearctic (Introduced , Native ); neotropical (Introduced )

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Helix pomatia has a brown shell with three to five light brown bands, four to five whorls, and are round or conical. A mature shell can range from 3.8-5.0 centimeters in height and diameter and is approximately one-third of their weight.

Range length: 3.8 to 5.0 cm.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry

  • Rogers, J. 1908. The Shell Book. Boston, MA: Charles T. Branford CO.
  • 2007. "All You Need to Know About Snails" (On-line). Accessed November 01, 2007 at http://www.escargot.fr/uk/tout.htm.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat Type: Terrestrial

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species lives in open temperate forests, in warm shrub lands, vineyards and hedges.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Helix pomatia prefers low-lying chalk and limestone areas but can be found up to 1830 meters in altitude. They can also be seen in vineyards, gardens, thickets and parks. They require a habitat that is humid with fairly constant, mild temperatures; and they cannot tolerate heavy rains or direct sunlight.

Range elevation: 1830 (high) m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland

Other Habitat Features: suburban ; agricultural

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Most feeding occurs between sunset and midnight. While feeding, the snails use their radula to brush the food. They require a calcium rich food source for shell growth and maintenance, and also feed on a variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers and leaves.

Plant Foods: leaves; fruit; flowers; sap or other plant fluids

Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore , Frugivore , Eats sap or other plant foods)

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

The grazing of Helix pomatia potentially has important effects on the plant community

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Predation

Young Helix pomatia are preyed upon by birds, insects, toads and mice. Snail eggs can also be predated by newly-hatched snails. Secreted slime, although not poisonous or unpalatable, often deters predation.

Known Predators:

  • Humans, frogs, parasitic nematodes, ground beetles, hedgehogs, slow worms, centipedes

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

No specific data was found on this topic.

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Life Cycle

Development

The embryos of Helix pomatia undergo development that is typical of veliger larvae. In the case that an embryo becomes dehydrated, it is usually able to survive. The snails emerge from their shells three to four weeks after they are deposited in a hole dug by their parent, depending on both the temperature and humidity. Each newly-hatched snail typically weighs twenty-seven milligrams and has both male and female reproductive organs. The snails live in the hole dug by the parent for a little over a week, feeding on the empty eggshells.

Shells grow incrementally until they reach maturity. Growth of the shell is inhibited by adverse weather conditions such as extreme heat or dryness, but eight hours of sunlight is optimal. Shells cannot reach full development unless they are able to access a rich calcium carbonate food-source

Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Helix pomatia lives in the wild have a typical lifespan of five years, while those that are held in captivity can live longer than ten years. Egg deposition affects lifespan because it causes significant weight loss. Snails that inhabit densely populated areas also suffer from higher mortality rates. Nematodes, trematodes, fungi, and other parasite are capable of infecting dense snail populations, causing high mortality.

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
10+ (high) years.

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Reproduction

Helix pomatia has a mate-selection process in which they court each other for several hours. The mates they ultimately select are usually not from different locations.

The mating process occurs in five steps:  (1) With their heads up, snails circle each other and feel one another with  their tentacles. (2)After becoming stimulated, one of the snails injects a calcareous “love-dart” into the sole of the other snail. Once it becomes exhausted, the other snail does the same thing.  (3)After resting, they align in such a way that their genital openings overlap. This act further stimulates the snails. (4)The two snails twist their bodies around one another so that the penis and vagina are connected. One snail receives a spermatophore in a process that takes four to seven minutes.  (5)In the final stage, the penis is removed. However, the two snails can remain attached with their feet together for several hours.

Snails can undergo the aforementioned mating ritual up to two times a year. However, if they live in a densely populated area, mating activity is reduced because the increased slime secretion suppresses reproduction.

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

Mating in Helix pomatia usually takes place among mature snails in the late spring and early summer, but can occur as last as October. After fertilization occurs, the snails can deposit anywhere from eight to thirty eggs. Sexual maturity is reached in two to four years.

Breeding interval: Two to six times per year

Breeding season: From late spring into early fall

Range number of offspring: 8 to 30.

Range gestation period: 3 to 4 weeks.

Average birth mass: 0.027 g.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 to 4 years.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 to 4 years.

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; simultaneous hermaphrodite; sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous

Helix pomatia typically selects a light, moist, deep soil in order to ensure that its eggs fully develop. After laying their eggs in a hole, which can take 15-20 minutes per egg, they cover them with a mixture of slime and soil. No other direct parental care is provided.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; pre-hatching/birth (Protecting: Male, Female)

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Helix pomatia

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: European native introduced in other areas throughout the world.

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2011

Assessor/s
Neubert, E.

Reviewer/s
Cuttelod, A. & Bilz, M.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is relatively widespread and there is no threat known to this species. It is therefore considered to be Least Concern (LC).
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Helix pomatia or its habitat receives some level of protection throughout much of Europe, even where introduced such as the United Kingdom.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: no special status

  • Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Second Report by the United Kingdom under Article 17 on the implementation of the Directive from from January 2001 to December 2006. S1026 - Helix pomatia - Roman snail. Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee. 2007. Accessed October 21, 2008 at www.jncc.gov.uk/article17.
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Population

Population
The size and trend within the subpopulations are supposed to be stable.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats to this species known. In general, logging may be a threat to local subpopulations, but the species in its European distribution is not threatened.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
In some European countries, this species is protected, but these are generally in low levels.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Helix pomatia can cause significant crop damage

Negative Impacts: crop pest

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Helix pomatia is cultivated and eaten as food.

Positive Impacts: food

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Wikipedia

Helix pomatia

Helix pomatia, common names the Burgundy snail, Roman snail, edible snail or escargot, is a species of large, edible, air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Helicidae. It is a European species. It is called by the French name escargot when used in cooking. Although this species is highly prized as a food it is difficult to cultivate and rarely farmed commercially.[3]

Distribution[edit]

Distribution map of Helix pomatia showing the European countries where the species is present
Cooked snails are called escargot

Distribution of Helix pomatia includes:

Southeastern and central Europe:[4]

Western Europe:

Northern Europe:

  • Denmark – Listed as a protected species.[citation needed]
  • Southern Sweden[4]
  • Norway[4]
  • Finland[4]
  • In central and southern parts of Sweden, Norway and Finland, isolated and relatively small populations occur. It is not native to these countries, but is likely to have been imported by monks from Southern Europe during medieval times.
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Estonia[4]

Eastern Europe:

southern Europe:

Description[edit]

View of a shell of Helix pomatia
Helix pomatia (the larger snail) laying eggs)

The shell is creamy white to light brownish, often with indistinct brown colour bands.[4] The shell has five to six whorls.[4] The aperture is large.[4] The apertural margin is white and slightly reflected in adult snails.[4] The umbilicus is narrow and partly covered by the reflected columellar margin.[4]

The width of the shell is 30–50 mm.[4] The height of the shell is 30–45 mm.[4]

Ecology[edit]

Habitat[edit]

In southeastern Europe, H. pomatia lives in forests and open habitats, gardens, vineyards, especially along rivers, confined to calcareous substrate.[4] In central Europe, it occurs in open forests and shrubland on calcareous substrate.[4] It prefers high humidity and lower temperatures, and needs loose soil for burrowing to hibernate and lay its eggs.[4] It lives up to 2100 m above sea level in the Alps, but usually below 2000 m.[4] In the south of England, it is restricted to undisturbed grassy or bushy wastelands, usually not in gardens; it has a low reproduction rate and low powers of dispersal.[4]

Life cycle[edit]

Average distance of migration reaches 3.5–6.0 m.[4]

This snail is hermaphroditic. Reproduction in central Europe begins at the end of May.[4]

Eggs are laid in June and July, in clutches of 40–65 eggs.[4] The size of the egg is 5.5–6.5 mm[4] or 8.6 × 7.2 mm.[9] Juveniles hatch after three to four weeks, and may consume their siblings under unfavourable climate conditions.[4] Maturity is reached after two to five years.[4] The life span is up to 20 years.[4] Ten-year-old individuals are probably not uncommon in natural populations.[4] The maximum lifespan is 35 years.[4]

During estivation or hibernation, this species creates a calcareous epiphragm to seal the opening of the shell.

Conservation[edit]

This species is listed in IUCN Red List, and in European Red List of Non-marine Molluscs as Least Concern.[10] [11] Helix pomatia is threatened by continuous habitat destructions and drainage, usually less threatened by commercial collections.[4] Many unsuccessful attempts have been made to establish the species in various parts of England, Scotland and Ireland; it only survived in natural habitats in southern England, and is threatened by intensive farming and habitat destruction.[4] It is of lower concern in Switzerland and Austria, but many regions restrict commercial collecting.[4]

References[edit]

This article incorporates public domain text from the reference.[4]

  1. ^ IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
  2. ^ Linnaeus C. (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. pp. [1–4], 1–824. Holmiae. (Salvius).
  3. ^ "Snail Cultivation (Heliciculture)". The Living World of Molluscs. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao "Species summary for Helix pomatia". AnimalBase, last modified 5 March 2009, accessed 6 September 2010.
  5. ^ (Czech) Dušek J., Hošek M. & Kolářová J. (2007). "Hodnotící zpráva o stavu z hlediska ochrany evropsky významných druhů a typů přírodních stanovišť v České republice za rok 2004–2006". Ochrana přírody 62(5): appendix 5:I-IV.
  6. ^ "Protection for wild animals on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981".
  7. ^ "Helix pomatia". Stichting Anemoon, accessed 6 September 2010.
  8. ^ Balashov I. & Gural-Sverlova N. 2012. An annotated checklist of the terrestrial molluscs of Ukraine. Journal of Conchology. 41 (1): 91-109.
  9. ^ Heller J.: Life History Strategies. in Barker G. M. (ed.): The biology of terrestrial molluscs. CABI Publishing, Oxon, UK, 2001, ISBN 0-85199-318-4. 1–146, cited page: 428.
  10. ^ Neubert, E. "Helix pomatia". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). IUCNRedList.org. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  11. ^ Cuttelod, A., M. Seddon &. E. Neubert: European Red List of Non-marine Molluscs; European Commission [1].

Further reading[edit]

  • (Russian) Roumyantseva E. G. & Dedkov V. P. (2006). "Reproductive properties of the Roman snail Helix pomatia L. in the Kaliningrad Region, Russia". Ruthenica 15: 131–138. abstract
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