• Laboratoire des sols
  • Université de lorraine



Classification (systematic position)
Source : INPN


Animal Kingdom
Phylum (Phylum): Mollusca
Subphylum: Gastropoda


Morphological characteristics
Gastropods with an elongated body, absence of legs (apodia), presence of a foot all along the belly, presence of a helicoidal shell which makes it possible to identify the species, 1 or 2 pairs of retractile tentacles: the first pair is ends with the eyes and the second is an olfactory organ; the toothed tongue forms a rasp called the radula.


Life cycle
Snails are hermaphroditic and usually reproduce in the spring. The two individuals mate for several hours in order to exchange spermatozoa which are stored in a spermatheca. Then each individual will produce eggs, which will be fertilized by the partner's stored sperm. Fifteen to twenty days later, the two individuals will dig a hole in the ground in order to lay their eggs there one by one. The life cycle of snails is very different depending on the species and they can live for several years and lay eggs up to once a month.


Snails are phytophagous like the gray snail ( Helix aspersa ) or the garden snail ( Cepaea hortensis ). Others are scavengers like the clausiliae.


Natural predators or regulators
Snails are the prey of birds and more particularly thrushes and blackbirds, and rove beetles.


Snails live in all environments.


Interests in the garden
Snails participate in the recovery of organic matter and can regulate weed populations.


Did you know ?
Snails only move forward thanks to their huge foot which covers the entire belly.

The set of eggs laid is called a spat.

Last change : 03/04/22
eszcargots photo 700 520
Figure 1