Land Snails of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's land snail fauna is very diverse & at least 80% of 253 recorded species are endemic. These include 5 endemic & relict land snail genera.
Land Snails of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is situated in one of the world’s 34 "biodiversity hotspots". Its land snail fauna is very diverse and at least 80% of the 253 recorded species are endemic (Raheem et al., 2008; Ranawana, 2006; Ranawana & Priyadarshana, 2012). These include 5 endemic and relict land snail genera (Ranawana, 2006). Land snails are not a monophyletic group and they comprise about 65% of the snail fauna in the country (Naggs & Raheem, 2005).

The highest diversity and endemism of land snails are recorded in the rainforests of the southwestern part of the country,  the so-called wet zone (Naggs et al., 2005). Many are confined to the mostly small remaining areas of fragmented rainforest where snail endemism is close to 100% (Naggs & Raheem, 2005).

Samuel Woodward (1856) is considered the first to recognise the distinctive composition of Sri Lanka's snail fauna (Naggs & Raheem, 2005).

Snails along with slugs are a part of the phyla Molluscs, the second most diverse animal phyla after Arthropods (Ranawana & Priyadarshana, 2012). Class Gastropoda is the largest class of Molluscs and it is divided into subclasses Prosobranchia, Opisthobranchia and Pulmonata.

Of the 253 species of the land snails of Sri Lanka, 166 belong to the subclass of Pulmonata and are represented by 28 families (Ranawana & Priyadarshana, 2012). The remaining 87 species belong to the subclass Prosobranchia which is further represented by 4 families (Ranawana & Priyadarshana, 2012). The families Ariophantidae with 50 species and Glessulidae with 22 species are the largest of Pulmonata while the family Cyclophoridae with 54 species is the largest of the Prosobranchia (Ranawana & Priyadarshana, 2012).

1) A snail family by Jestin peter is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

1) Naggs, F. and Raheem, D., 2005. Sri Lankan snail diversity: faunal origins and future prospects. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement, 68, pp.11-29.
3) Naggs, F., Raheem, D., Ranawana, K. and Mapatuna, Y., 2005. The Darwin Initiative project on Sri Lankan land snails: patterns of diversity in Sri Lankan forests. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 12, pp.23-29.
4) Raheem, D.C., Naggs, F., Preece, R.C., Mapatuna, Y., Kariyawasam, L. and Eggleton, P., 2008. Structure and conservation of Sri Lankan land‐snail assemblages in fragmented lowland rainforest and village home gardens. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45(4), pp.1019-1028.
5) Ranawana, K.B., 2006. Land snails in Sri Lanka. CNB Bambaradeniya, ed, pp.84-99.
6) Ranawana, K.B., Priyadarshana, T.G.M., 2012. The Taxonomy and Conservation Status of the Land snails in Sri Lanka. The National Red List 2012 of Sri Lanka. Conservation Status of the Fauna and Flora. Weerakoon, D.K. & S. Wijesundara Eds., Ministry of Environment, Colombo, Sri Lanka. pp.65-99.

This page was last updated on 19 May 2022
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