Kansas Land Snail – Lamellaxis sp

Lamellaxis sp
an Awlsnail
Family Subulinidae


[left specimen from residential yard, right specimen from native prairie]

Identification: conical shell, no lamellae or teeth, lip not reflected, size varies by species up to 10-12 mm and shell varies from not glossy to very glossy and from weakly to strongly striate.

Habitat and Status: Lamellaxis is not a “Kansas” snail as such as no continued survival and reproduction is known. This genus is part of a family of tropical snails also know as Allopeas, likely introduced as a so-called “hot house” snail, making its way around through the “lawn and garden” plant trade. Bergey et al. (2014, “Trading in snails: plant nurseries as transport hubs for non-native species”) found it in a few Oklahoma nurseries. This appears to be a very uncommon snail in central North America, showing up sporadically in databases (within the 4-state area, only a few records in Missouri and Oklahoma). The first shells (compared to databases) in Kansas were found in Crawford County, in my backyard flower garden litter, in three separate years (2007 with live specimens and 2015 and 2016 as only shells). A single shell was found in a small native prairie in December 2012 (O’Malley West Prairie of the Southeast Kansas Biological Station). This latter collection is curious.


Kansas Land Snail – Limax maximus

Limax maximus (Linné, 1758)
Giant Garden Slug
Family Limacidae

Identification: our largest slug, 50 mm or more at maturity (although the juveniles – as pictured – are obviously smaller), dark mottling gives the appearance of lines.

Habitat: generalist, woodlands, leaf litter, woody debris (look in the crevices), moist conditions most favorable.


[left: climbing a house foundation, right: a mating pair hanging from house siding]


Kansas Land Snail – Zonitoides arboreus

Zonitoides arboreus (Say, 1816)
Quick Gloss
Family Gastrodontidae


Identification: 4-6 mm diameter, glossy shell, irregular growth lines, 4-5 whorls, umbilicate, thin lip not reflected.

Habitat: generalist, woodlands, some grasslands, leaf litter, woody debris (look in the crevices).

Map: orange = county with previous collection; yellow = new collection in previous county; green = new county record.

Kansas Status: widely distributed in eastern third of the state, plus a single county in the northwest (Cheyenne Co.)

U.S. Map: orange = Hubricht (1985); green = other states and purple = extirpated (NatureServe 1/2017)

Kansas Land Snail – Xolotrema fosteri

Xolotrema fosteri (F. C. Baker, 1921)
Bladetooth Wedge
Family Polygyridae

Identification: shell imperforate, large parietal tooth, subglobose, rounded periphery, shell usually >17 mm, tooth in upper part of outer lip.

Habitat: woodland species, associated with woody debris, limestone hillsides and outcrops, large boulders.

Map: green = new county record.

Kansas Status: distributed in eastern half of the state in suitable habitat.

U.S. Map: yellow = new species; orange = Hubricht (1985); green = other states and purple = extirpated (NatureServe 1/2017)

Kansas Land Snail – Webbhelix multilineata

Webbhelix multilineata (Say, 1821)
Striped Whitelip
Family Polygyridae

[for image, go to: http://www.jaxshells.org/james.htm]

Identification: This is a large snail, 20 to 25 mm diameter, depressed globose, imperforate, oval aperture oval to lunate, usually without lamellae, peristome narrowly reflected, olive-brown shell color, but with multiple reddish brown spiral bands (sometimes absent).

Habitat: This is a snail of “marshy woodlands and meadows” according to Leonard (1959). According to Oesch et al. (in press), this snail can escape floodwaters by climbing up tree trunks or on other vegetation and summarizes an earlier work reporting this species might be predacious on other snails.

Map: orange = county with previous collection.

Kansas Status: not know, has not been re-collected; restricted to the northeast corner of the state.

U.S. Map: orange = Hubricht (1985); green = other states and purple = extirpated (NatureServe 1/2017)

Kansas Land Snail – Vertigo (Vertigo snails)

Vertigo (Vertigo snails)

Land snails of the genus Vertigo are tiny (about 2 mm or 1/16 inch) members of the land snail community. While small, most have an aperture with numerous denticles (teeth) of various locations and characteristics. Three species, at least, are recorded in Kansas according to Nekola and Coles (2010): Vertigo milium, Vertigo ovata, and Vertigo tridentata. More are likely.

Identification: V. milium: 6 or more apertural lamellae, shell height <1.9 mm. V. tridentata: 3-4 apertural lamellae, shell height 1¾-2 mm. V. ovata: 5 apertural lamellae, shell <2¼ mm tall. (Based on characters from Nekola and Coles 2010, but assuming these are the only species to choose from. Otherwise, use their key.)

Habitat: found in a wide variety of habitats, in litter and thatch; from mesic to wet habitats, some may climb up on herbaceous vegetation.


Map: orange = county with previous collection; green = new county record.

Kansas Status: not known, these are diminutive snails, not always seen even if present.


U.S. Map: orange = Hubricht (1985); green = other states and purple = extirpated (NatureServe 1/2017)

Kansas Land Snail – Ventridens (Domed snails)

Ventridens (Domed snails)

These are two mid-sized land snails (Ventridens demissus, the Perforate Dome, and Ventridens ligera, the Globose Dome). Both have a dome shape, perforate umbilicus, and glossy shell.

Ventridens demissus (A. Binney, 1843)
Perforate Dome
Family Gastrodontidae

Ventridens ligera (Say, 1821)
Globose Dome
Family Gastrodontidae

Identification: Ventridens ligera has 6-7 whorls, usually wider than 11 mm in diameter, higher dome, basal lamina inside lip. V. demissus  is narrower in diameter, lower dome, less than 11 mm.

Habitat: woodlands, moister areas; New specimens of Ventridens ligera were collected at the Copan Wildlife area in 2012 and behind a rockwall in grassy/leafy debris in rural Crawford County in 2017. The state record V. demissus were collected in three different residential yards in Crawford County; among damp woody and leafy debris along fence line at one residence.


Map: orange = county with previous collection; green = new county record.

Kansas Status: probably restricted; one county with recent specimens for the Globose Dome; the Perforate Dome in only one southeastern Kansas county in residential areas and probably not secure.


U.S. Map: orange = Hubricht (1985); green = other states and purple = extirpated (NatureServe 1/2017)