Book Review: "Land Snails of Britain and North-West Europe"


"Land Snails of Britain and North-West Europe"
Kerney, M.P.; Cameron, R.A.D.;
Collins, Britain, 1979.

in comparison of other books described.

This field guide is the basis of the best field guides on land snails there are in Europe, despite their advancing age. There are for example translations in German and French (see below), then specially adapted to the region described.

The book in its original version shows more than 640 illustrations, coloured on tables, black and white in the text, as well as more than 300 distribution maps.

The book remains restricted to the area of Britain and North-West Europe, which leaves out the complete Balkan Area and Greece with its very interesting snail fauna.

The coloured illustrations mentioned above are the outstanding drawings of Gordon Riley, which put special emphasis to colour, sculpture and structure of snail shells. Apart from those coloured illustrations there are also very good black and white ones, wherever an anatomical sketch is necessary to tell two species apart. So the very good sketches of genetic apparatuses have to be mentioned, without which a clear determination of species is often impossible.

Next to the determination part the book also contains an extensive description of land snail morphology and biology, which not only describes body characters (morphology), but also embryonic development and ecology of land snails. There is also an additional chapter on naming (nomenclature) and grouping (classification) according to the general rules.

Limited to the area it describes the book is very comprehensive, so it should not miss in any malacological library. Because of its advances age the book should be used together with other means of systematic determination, such as the CLECOM catalogue, so the systematic names, partly having changed in the time since, remain up to date.


A double page in the German edition of the book with one of the coloured tables illustrated by Gordon Riley.