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Molluscs (land and freshwater)

County Recorder: Ian Killeen



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Species list

Depressed River Mussel
Depressed river mussel

Depressed River Mussel Pseudanodonta complanata

The Depressed River Mussel is a rare, green or brown river bivalve. The shell is wedge shaped, with the umbo (the rounded knob) positioned to one side. It gets its name from its compressed appearance; it looks like someone has squeezed the two shells together. Image: Tom Meijer (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Freshwater Habitats Trust

Desmoulin’s Whorl Snail
Desmoulin’s Whorl Snail

Desmoulin’s Whorl Snail Vertigo moulinsiana

Desmoulin’s whorl snail Vertigo moulinsiana is the largest Vertigo species, with a shell height up to about 2.6 mm. It is restricted to calcareous wetlands, usually bordering lakes or rivers, or in fens. High humidity appears to be important in determining local distribution within sites. It normally lives on reed-grasses and sedges. Image: Gilles San Martin (Flickr).

Find out more: iNaturalist, JNCC – Species description

Large-mouthed Valve Snail
large-mouthed valve snail

Large-mouthed Valve Snail Valvata macrostoma

The Large-mouthed Valve Snail is a species of minute freshwater snail. It has a shell with fine and sharp ribs and rapidly increasing whorls, the first whorls are flat and the last whorls descending, the umbilicus is wide usually 1/4-1/3 of the shell diameter. Image: public domain (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist

Lesser Whirlpool Ramshorn Snail
ramshorn snail

Lesser Whilrpool Ramshorn Snail Anisus vorticulus

The lesser whirlpool ram’s-horn snail Anisus vorticulus is a small aquatic snail with a flattened spiral shell rarely more than 5 mm in diameter. It occurs in unpolluted, calcareous waters in marsh drains with a dense aquatic flora, and favours ditches with a diverse flora but little emergent vegetation. Image: Alex Hyde / Back from the Brink (Flickr).

Find out more: iNaturalist, JNCC – Species description

Narrow-mouth Whorl Snail
narrow-mouthed whorl snail

Narrow-mouth Whorl Snail Vertigo angustior

The tiny narrow-mouthed whorl snail Vertigo angustior is found primarily in marshy ground of high, even humidity, with flowing groundwater. It requires unshaded conditions and lives amongst short vegetation, composed of grasses, mosses or low herbs, that is quickly warmed by the sun. It has been found in wet base-rich meadows, in coastal marshes, dune slacks and maritime turf. Image: public domain (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, JNCC – Species description

Native Oyster
oyster on river bed

Native Oyster Ostrea edulis

The native oyster Ostrea edulis has an oval or pear-shaped shell with a rough, scaly surface. The two halves (valves) of the shell are different shapes. The left valve is concave and fixed to the substratum, the right being flat and sitting inside the left. The shell is off-white, yellowish or cream in colour with light brown or bluish concentric bands on the right valve. Image: Hans Hillewaert (Flickr).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Network

Shining Ram’s-horn Snail
shining ram's-horn snail

Shining Ram’s-horn Snail Segmentina nitida

The Shining Ram's-horn Snail is a minute, air-breathing, freshwater snail, found predominantly in drainage ditches along field margins and in marshland. Image: Mgreilhuber (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, NBN Atlas



Over a ten year period, Ian Killeen covered over 70% of the tetrads in Suffolk. The results of his survey (probably the most detailed in Britain) have been computerised; the SBIS database now holds over 45,000 records. The results were published in The Land & Freshwater Molluscs of Suffolk. (1992).

Further information on recording and identification can be found on the Conchological Society website.

Basic Suffolk Checklist on Recorder.


Major Publications

Other papers from Suffolk Natural History

Non-marine Mollusca survey, 1986. I.J. Killeen (1987) Open
Limax valentianus Ferussac (Mollusea: Limacidae) new to Suffolk. I.J. Killeen (1987) Open
The non-marine Mollusca of Suffolk. I.J Killeen (1986) Open
Freshwater Mussels at Campsea Ashe. Earl of Cranbrook (1974) Open
A New Suffolk locality for the Snail Monacha cartusiana (Müller). M. Bishop & S. Bishop (1972) Open
A Contribution to the Census of the Non-marine Mollusca of Suffolk. H.E.J. Biggs (1969) Open
Mollusca of Bobbit’s Hole A.G. Davies (1954) Open
An Albino Ramshorn Snail. E. Eden (1965) Open
The Mollusca of Suffolk (1938) Open


For images of Suffolk Priority species see our Pinterest Board

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