Snail facts

Malacology is the branch of invertebrate zoology that deals with the study of the Mollusca, the second-largest phylum of animals in terms of described species after the arthropods.MSA logo

Australia has a Malacology Society. Follow this link for information about Australian Molluscs or to join your local group.


Snails are Molluscs and in the class Gastropoda. Australia has about 3000 species of native land snails occurring in a wide range of environments from saltbush plains to tropical rainforests.

We have 3 types:

P1 Mitchells Rain Forest Snail

SNAILS: Terrestrial or land snails with a well developed external shell into which the animal can fully retreat have evolved from marine snails about 350 millions years ago




P1 Semi snailSEMI-SLUGS: These are snails with a partly reduced shell which is too small for the snail to retreat into fully





P1 slugSLUGS which are land snails that have evolved to live without their shell. They often have a rudimentary shell internally





Land snails and slugs all have a similar external gastropod body plan subject to variation. Most have a shell of some sort whether it be external, internal or somewhere between the two.

Pulmonate snails and slugscopy025 copy


Australian land snails are almost always dextral i.e. they have a right hand opening. A few rare species are sinistral [left hand opening]


Common form with right hand opening:

Eastern Trumpetsnail

Gyliotrachela australis





Rarer left hand opening:

Border Ranges Staircase-snail

Velepalaina strangei




Aust Dept Environ