Striped Helix

Helix lucorum Linnaeus 1758

True Snails (Helicidae) - Systematical Overview.

Striped Helix (Helix lucorum)
Striped Helix (Helix lucorum).
Picture: Robert Nordsieck. Enlarge!

The striped Helix (Helix lucorum) in French is called Escargot Turc, the Turkish snail, and fittingly the original area of distribution is located in Asia Minor or modern-day Turkey.

Striped Helix (Helix lucorum), light and dark variant.
Picture: Robert Nordsieck..


The form of a Helix lucorum shell reminds of its Central European relatives: It has a depressed globular form with a broadly rounded spire. It has a thick wall and is striped irregularly. What distinctly tells a striped Helix apart from a Roman snail is the colour pattern of its shell: Like the name already indicates, it is usually distinctly striped or banded. Several broad red-brown longitudinal bands can be merged to even broader bands, so little remains visible of the original lighter shell colour.

In very lightly coloured specimens the transversal stripes ("growth stripes"), developed during estivation, can be dominant in colour, so the shell looks transversally striped. What is also distinctly different from the Roman snail is the form of a striped Helix's shell aperture: It is attached somewhat obliquely to the shell and displays a thickened apertural rim. The apertural lip is of reddish to brownish colour.

Identification by shell characters: Striped Helix (Helix lucorum).
Helix lucorum from Turkey. Picture of a transversally striped specimen by Claude and Amandine Evanno on
An extensible snail: Picture series with Helix lucorum.

Dimensions: W: 40-50 mm, max. 60 mm. H: 41-55 mm. Information: Abbreviations

With a diameter of 30 to 60 mm, the striped Helix is usually noticeably larger than a Roman snail. How large a striped Helix can actually grow is largely dependent on the temperature prevailing in its habitat.

Habitat and Distribution:

Striped Helix (Helix lucorum), juvenile.
Picture: Robert Nordsieck.

The striped Helix's natural habitat are bushes, open forests and cultural areas. In nature, the snail is only active during the night and after strong rains, during dry periods it remains dug into the ground. The distribution area of Helix lucorum extends from the eastern Black Sea region throughout Asia Minor (see above) and the Central Balkan peninsula (Southern Romania, Bulgaria and Thrace in northeastern Greece as far as Albania) as far as Italy west of the Apennine mountains. ( Distribution Map).

  Korábek, O., Juřičková, L., Balashov,I., Petrusek, A. (2018): The contribution of ancient and modern anthropogenic introductions to the colonization of Europe by the land snail Helix lucorum Linnaeus, 1758 (Helicidae). Contributions to Zoology, 87 (2), pp. 61-74. (Link, accessed 25.09.2022).

Einheimische Landschnecken im Garten
Striped Helix (Helix lucorum) on the cover of
"Einheimische Schnecken".
In Germany, Helix lucorum only occurs in some separate places. There have been findings proven from Bad Godesberg and Munich:

  Henkel, H. (2015): Helix lucorum Linnaeus 1758 (Gastropoda, Pulmonata, Familie Helicidae) in Bad Godesberg, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Deutschland, etabliert. Club Conchylia Mitt. 24, p.44. (PDF, accessed 25.09.2022).

In Austria, Helix lucorum has only been observed living in the area southeast of Vienna. Contrary to the brown garden snail (Cornu aspersum), the striped Helix does not appear to be spreading throughout Lower Austria:

  Fischer, W.; Novak, J.; Reinelt, K. (2008): Beiträge zur Kenntnis der österreichischen Molluskenfaua XIII. Zum Vorkommen von Helix lucorum Linné 1758, Cernuella neglecta (Draparnaud 1805) und Cernuella virgata (Da Costa 1758) in Wien (Gastropoda: Mollusca). d. E. Vorarlb. Mal. Ges, 15, pp. 63 - 64. (PDF, accessed 25.09.2022).

In southern France and on the Iberian peninsula, the species has been introduced in several places. This might be due to the fact that after Helix pomatia, Helix lucorum is the economically most important snail species, nearly 6000 tonnes of which are sold annually, according to Falkner (1990). However, Helix lucorum usually is not bred, but exclusively collected. In delicatessen shops cultivated Roman snails (Helix pomatia) are often sold together with the more brightly coloured shells of Helix lucorum.

In southwestern France (Départements Aude, Aveyron, Haute-Garonne etc.), the striped Helix has been noticeably spreading in nature as well, partly acclaiming the ecological niche of the native brown garden snail (Cornu aspersum) and displacing that species. In southwestern France, specimens of Helix lucorum have been found with a shell size little below 6 cm.

  Céline Samperez-Bedos: "L'Attaque des Escargot Géants". La Dépeche, Carcassonne. Accessed: 28.08.2022.

In 2010 the species has also been observed in Le Vesinet, a western suburb of Paris. The paper listed below assumes that Helix lucorum also will appear in other parts of France and Europe, wherever it is traded:

  Mienis, H. K.; Rittner, O. (2010): On the presence of Helix lucorum Linnaeus, 1758 (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Helicidae) in Le Vesinet, a western suburb of Paris. MalaCo, 6 : 266-267. (Link, accessed 25.09.2022).

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