Global Invasive Species Database 100 of the worst Donations home
Standard Search Standard Search Taxonomic Search   Index Search

   Helix aspersa (mollusc)
Ecology Distribution Management
and Links

         Interim profile, incomplete information
    Taxonomic name: Helix aspersa Muller, 1774
    Synonyms: Cantareus aspersus Müller, Cornu aspersum Müller, Cryptomphalus aspersus Müller
    Common names: brown garden snail, European brown snail
    Organism type: mollusc
    Helix aspersa the brown garden snail, is a herbivorous land snail that is native to the United Kingdom and western Europe. It is also native to the countries along the borders of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. It has been introduced to many places worldwide as food, by snail enthusiasts and accidentally attached to plant matter or freight. H. aspersa is a pest of gardens, orchards and nurseries, and is considered a serious pest in California. It is thought that H. aspersa may be a vector for Phytophthora citrophthora, which causes cankers on the branches of clementine cultivars (Citrus clementina).
    Occurs in:
    agricultural areas, coastland, range/grasslands, ruderal/disturbed, urban areas
    General impacts
    Asides from being a pest in gardens, orchards and nurseries through herbivory, H. aspersa can also impact grassland species composition. For example, it was found that H. aspersa showed a preference for consuming the native grass Bromus carinatus, which is very rare. (Motheral & Orrock 2010).

    It is also thought that H. aspersa may be a vector for the disease Phytophthora citrophthora, which causes the disease Phytophthora branch canker (PBC) in citrus in Spain. Symptoms of PBC include cankers on the branches of clementine cultivars (Citrus clementina). (Alvarez et al. 2009).

    Helix aspersa Müller is also referred to as Cantareus aspersus (Müller), Cryptomphalus aspersus (Müller) and Cornu aspersum (Müller).
    Geographical range
    Native range: United Kingdom, Italy, France and along the borders of the Mediterranean and Black seas (Dekle & Fasulo 2008).
    Known introduced range: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Haiti, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa, United States and the Atlantic islands. (Dekle & Fasulo 2008).
    Introduction pathways to new locations
    Live food trade:
    Nursery trade:
    Other: Snail hobbyists have imported this species to many parts of the world where is has subsequently become established. (Dekle & Fasulo 2008).
    Transportation of habitat material:

    Local dispersal methods
    Transportation of habitat material (local):
    Management information
    There are multiple management techniques used for controlling H. aspersa. These include manual control, e.g. hand collection of individuals, creating barriers to restrict access to foliage; chemical control, e.g. carbamates, metal chelates and metaldehyde; and biological control - the predatory snail Rumina decollata has found to be an effective biological control agent in California. However, it has been found that molluscicides alone are not an effective method of controlling H. aspersa. (Barker & Watts 2002; Dekle & Fasulo 2008; Flint & Wilen 2009).

    For more management information, please see the Integrated Pest Management page on Helix aspersa.

    Compiled by: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment
    Last Modified: Tuesday, 8 June 2010

ISSG Landcare Research NBII IUCN University of Auckland