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Latin Name & Author (person who described the species)


Helix aspersa (Müller, 1774)


Common name:


brown garden snail, European brown snail,
France: escargot petit-gris or Chagrine'
Italy: Zigrinata or Maruzza
Spain: caracolas

Synonymous Names:


Helix aspersa, Cantareus aspersus, Cryptomphalus aspersus, Cornu aspersum








Kingdom Animalia: Animal, animals, animaux
Phylum Mollusca: molluscs, mollusks, mollusques, molusco
Class: Gastropoda Cuvier, 1797 -- caracol, caramujo, escargots, gastéropodes, gastropods, lesma, limaces, slugs, snails

Subclass Heterobranchia
Subclass: Pulmonata (Freshwater Pulmonate Gastropods)
Order: Stylommatophora (terrestrial snails and slugs)
Suborder: Sigmurethra
Superfamily Orthalicacea
Superfamily Orthalicacea
Family: Helicoidea
Genus: Helicidae Linnaeus, 1758
Species aspersum Muller, 1774

Species Origin:




Odessa's Origin:




Distribution Today:

















  • Asia:
    • Turkey
    • borders of the Black sea.
  • Africa:
    • Algeria
    • South Africa
  • Pacific:
    • Australia (Queensland, Tasmania)
    • New Zealand
  • Europe:
    • Great Britain (mainly southern and coastal),
    • Belgium
    • France
    • Germany
    • Greece
    • Ireland
    • Italy
    • Portugal
    • Spain
  • Islands:
    • Canary Islands
    • Haiti
  • North America:
    • Canada (Lower Mainland B.C. and Vancouver Island),
    • Mexico,
    • USA (AZ, CA, LA, NM, NV, OR, SC, TX, UT).
  • South America:
    • Argentina
    • Chile











  • Hermaphrodite (each individual having both male and female reproductive systems)
  • Develops from eggs (Mating requires nocturnally for four to 12 hours. Oviposition occurs three to six days after fertilization. White spherical eggs about 1/8 inch in diameter are deposited in a nest constructed by the snail, which uses its foot to shovel soil upwards. )
  • Brown garden snails attain a diameter of 16 to 20 mm within one year, but 26 to 33 mm by the second year (the rate of maturation is determined by the concentration of calcium in the environment and temperature of its environment).
  • In cold weather the snail buries itself in soil, seals the shell with a sheet of hardened mucus and becomes dormant. Under dry conditions the snail sticks down onto a hardened surface and seal itself into its shell to avoid desiccation.
  • These snails are nocturnal and feed on organic matter in the soil, bark from trees and especially on vegetation.

Economic Importance:







PROBLEM: Helix aspersa (Cornu aspersum) feeds on a wide variety of vegetables, flowers, fruit, ornamental plants and weeds. Dead animal tissue and paper products are also eaten. Snails feeding on cultivated plants may become serious pests.

Food: The brown garden snail was brought many countries to provide escargot where they soon became a serious pest. Because of the pesticides and other toxins found in today's in urban gardens, eating wild snails should be avoided. For the human consumption it is very adviseable that they be raised in a controlled environment.

"The Helix snail is a food rich in protein of great biological value (12%), it contains a small quantity of fat (0,9%) and glucide. The mineral nutritive substance are plenty contained: expecially cuprum, calcium, magnesium and zinc; so it is proper in case of insufficiency of proteine as a result of debilitating of diseases in old person, on pregnancy and breast-feeding, after operations, in case of anaemia." Quote

















  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers the land snail Helix aspersa to be a plant pest. The USDA in conjunction with the 50 State Departments of Agriculture regulate the transport of Helix aspersa and other land snails. The following states allow the transport of land snails with a valid permit : AZ, CA, NM, TX, WA.

    Snails & Slugs in General: The USDA requires permits for the importation of live snails and slugs under the authority of 7 CFR 330. USDA may permit movement of snails or slugs for research purposes, for educational demonstrations in classrooms or laboratories, or for processing and packaging. Authorization depends on factors such as risk of contaminants, risk species poses to the environment, and level of containment at destination site.


  • List of Pests Regulated in Canada: Canadian Food Inspection Agency: Plant Products Directorate: Plant Health Division: In order to protect Canada's resource base the following pests are regulated. Pests in this list are linked to the policy directives that are available electronically from 1994 on, but some may also be referred to in directives dated prior to 1994. The list may be revised at any time.
    NOTE: brown garden snails are on the list!

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