Snail taxonomy

Front cover 1The taxonomy of the Gastropoda is still under revision, and more and more of the old taxonomy is being abandoned, as the results of molecular studies slowly become clearer.





Superfamily Helicinoidea

  • Family Helicinidae

Superfamily Hydrocenoidea

  • Family Hydrocenidae


Superfamily Cyclophoroidea

  • Family Cyclophoridae
  • Family Pupinidae
  • Family Diplommatinidae

Superfamily Rissooidea

  • Family Assimineidae



Superfamily Veronicelloidea

  • Family Veronicellidae *
  • Family Rathouisiidae



                       INFRAORDER ORTHURETHRA

Superfamily Achatinelloidea

  • Family Achatinellidae

Superfamily Cochlicopoidea

  • Family Cochlicopidae *

Superfamily Pupilloidea

  • Family Pupillidae
  • Family Valloniidae *
  • Family Pleurodiscidae *

Superfamily Enoidea

  • Family Cerastidae **


Superfamily Achatinoidea

  • Family Ferrussaciidae *
  • Family Subulinidae **

Superfamily Testacelloidea

  • Family Testacellidae *

Superfamily Rhytidoidea

  • Family Rhytididae

Superfamily Streptaxoidea

  • Family Streptaxidae *

Superfamily Acavoidea

  • Family Caryodidae

Superfamily Orthalicoidea

  • Family Bothriembryontidae
  • Family Placostylidae
  • Family Megaspiridae

Superfamily Arionoidea

  • Family Arionidae *

Superfamily Punctoidea

  • Family Punctidae
  • Family Charopidae
  • Family Helicodiscidae
  • Family Cystopeltidae

Superfamily Limacoidea

  • Family Agriolimacidae *
  • Family Limacidae *
  • Family Milacidae *
  • Family Vitrinidae *

Superfamily Helicarionoidea

  • Family Helicarionidae
  • Family Microcystidae

Superfamily Gastrodontoidea

  • Family Euconulidae **
  • Family Oxychilidae *
  • Family Pristilomatidae *
  • Family Trochomorphidae
  • Family Gastrodontidae *

Superfamily Plectopyloidea

  • Family Corillidae

Superfamily Helicoidea

  • Family Camaenidae
  • Family Bradybaenidae *
  • Family Helicidae *
  • Family Hygromiidae *
  • Family Cochlicellidae *


Superfamily Succineoidea

  • Family Succineidae **

Superfamily Athoracophorodea

  • Family Athoracophoridae

* Introduced species

** Introduced and native species


Common names for land snail families:

  • Bradybaenidae [includes Asian Tramp Snail}
  • Bothriembryontidae [Tapered Snails]
  • Camaenidae [Helicoid Snails]
  • Caryodidae [Bush and Panda Snails]
  • Charopidae [Pinwheel Snails]
  • Cochlicellidae [Pointed Snails]
  • Cochlicopidae [Pillar Snails]
  • Cyclophoridae [Pendant Snails]
  • Cerastidae [Porcelain & thin-shelled Snails]
  • Euconulidae [Beehive & Turreted Snails]
  • Ferrussaciidae [Needlesnails, Husk & Blind Snails]
  • Gastrodontidae [Orchid Snails]
  • Helicidae [Introduced and European Snails
  • Helicinidae [Droplet-snails]
  • Helicodiscidae [Microdisc Snails]
  • Helicarionidae [Glass-Snails and Semi-slugs]
  • Hydrocenidae  [Microturbans]
  • Hygromiidae  [Vineyard Snails & allies]
  • Microcystidae [Tiny Glass-snails]
  • Oxchilidae [Garlic & Cellar Snails]
  • Pristilomatidae [Crystal Snails]
  • Punctidae [Pinhead Snails]
  • Pupillidae [Pupasnails]
  • Rhytididae [Carnivorous Snails]
  • Streptaxidae [Predatory Snails]
  • Subulinidae [Awlsnails]
  • Succineidae [Amber Snails]
  • Trochomorophidae [Squat-keeled Snails]
  • Valloniidae [Grass-snails]
  • Vitrinidae [Glass-snail]

Common names for slug families:

  • Agriolimacidae [Field Slugs & allies]
  • Arionidae [Roundback Slugs]
  • Athoracophoridae [Red-triangle Slugs]
  • Cystopeltidae [Humpback Slugs]
  • Limacidae [Leopard Slug & allies]
  • Milacidae [Jet Slugs]
  • Testacellidae [Earshell Slugs]
  • Veronicellidae [Leatherleaf & Brown Slugs]


Species: Approximately 2500

In Australia, the two main groups of land snails are:


These snails have an open pallial cavity which absorbs oxygen. Most notably, they have only one pair of tentacles. About 130 species can be found in Australia. Three main groups are:

Droplet-snails: Helicinidae

Pleuropoma gouldiana

Cape York Droplet Snail Pleuropoma gouldiana (Forbes, 1851)

Pendant Snails: Cyclophoridae


Opalescent Pendant-snail (Leptopoma perlucida)

Microturban Snails: Hydrocenidae


Royal Arch Microturban (Georissa minuta)


These snails, semi-slugs and slugs have two pairs of tentacles. They breathe using lungs. In Australia, we have about 3000 species.

The more common groups are:

Native slugs: Athoracophoridae


Red-triangle Slug (Triboniophorus graeffei)








Glass-snails and Semi-slugs: Helicarionidae

  • Glass-snails: This is a group of semi-slugs and one of the most speciose families.

Chillagoe Glass-snail (Einasleighana antiqua)



Gayndah Glass-snail (Delinitesta gayndahensis


  • Semi-slugs: Semi-slugs are snails that cannot retract into their shell as it is much reduced in size.

Black-spotted Semi-slug (Macularion Aquila)







Pinwheel snails: Charopidae

Charopids or pinwheel snails are micro-snails (from 1.2-7.0mm) with an estimated 750 Australian species. Charopidae have their greatest diversity in eastern Australia.


Sunburst Pinwheel Snail (Letomola lanalittleae)


Goodnight Scrub Pinwheel Snail (Gyrocochlea goodnight)


Many Charopids have beautiful shell sculpture when seen under microscopes

P9g P9m

Camaenids: Camaenida

Camaenids are generally larger than snails in most other families. In eastern Australia, the stable moisture regime and acidic soils have resulted in the evolution of a number of arboreal species

Noctepuna cerea

Ivory Treesnail (Noctepuna cerea)


Chillagoe Spiny Snail (Tolgachloritis campbelli)

Some camaenids possess bristles or hair-like structures

Other camaenids have elaborate banding patterns in their shells.

P10 Frasers

Frasers Banded Snail (Sphaerospira fraseri)








Caryodids: Caryodidae

Caryodids are endemic to eastern Australia and are generally large. They include our largest land snail, the Giant Panda Snail.

P4 Giant Panda

Giant Panda Snail (Hedleyella falconeri)

P4 Flat coiled

Bundaberg Flat-coiled Snail (Pedinogyra terrycarlessi)

Carnivorous Snails: Rhytididae

The carnivorous snails eat meat and their diet includes a range of invertebrates including other snails. The long neck is a feature of these snails.


Glossy Turban Carnivorous Snail (Terrycarlessia turbinate) dining on an Asian Tramp snail


Harriett’s Carnivorous Snail (Austrorhytida harriettae)




Recent Posts

Brigalow State Schools students- budding malacologists

P-2 and Year 3 to 6 students proved to be budding malacologists (scientists who study snails) when the Snail Whisperers visited their school as part of the Future Makers program which is outsourced from Queensland Museum.

Some students brought in land snails from their properties and were able to learn both the scientific and common names of these species.

The students were particularly fascinated with the emerald green snails from Manus Island who survive with this bright green colour as they live in the tops of palm trees on the island. The emerald green snail or Manus green tree snail, scientific name Papustyla pulcherrima, is a species of large, air-breathing tree-snail. This snail is now a protected species internationally.

Papustyla pulcherrima, samples from the collections of Queensland Museum.

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