The Poweshiek Skipper Project

Terrestrial Snails


 Fossaria parva 

Pigmy Fossaria

This is not a terrestrial snail.  It is an aquatic snail that is amphibious.  The specimens that I found were in one case a few inches from the water on a wet leaf.  Another time I found them on a wet  brick that was a an inch or two above the water line of an intermittent stream that had dried out.

Most land snails  in Iowa belong to the order StylommatophoraThis snail does not.  In the Stylommatophera the eyes are at the tips of the first pair of tentacles.  In this snail, although you cannot see it in the photos, the eyes are at the base of the tentacles.

Typical land snails will poke their heads out from under their shells when they crawl along a surface.  These snails don't, at least when on land.  They keep their shells mostly above their bodies so that the foot and the head are not really visible.

There are probably a number of aquatic snails in Iowa that can occasionally be found in terrestrial habitats, including some of the Physia species.  There also seem to be some snails in the  Stylommatophera group that are more aquatic than terrestrial, but they are traditionally called land snails.