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Vespericola columbianus (I. Lea, 1839)
Northwest Hesperian
Family: Polygyridae
Species account author: Robert Forsyth.


© Robert Forsyth     (Photo ID #316)


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Distribution of Vespericola columbianus in British Columbia in British Columbia

Species Information


Medium-sized (mature width, 10-17 mm), heliciform, yellowish-brown; periostractum usually densely hairy; no apertural denticles; lip expanded but not thickened.


Body tan, darker and greyer on body-stalk. Mantle over lung clear buff, spotted with black (Roth and Miller 1993).


Predominantly in forests from sea level to the subalpine where sufficient precipitation occurs. Also on grassy, open seaside habitats where it lives under driftwood.


Global range

Unalaska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska (Eyerdam 1933), through coastal British Columbia and Washington to Oregon (Roth and Miller 1993). It does not occur as far south as California; literature records there are other species (Roth and Sadeghian 2006). Although Hanna (1925) believed that the population on Unalaska Island was native, Eyerdam (1933) thought that they were introduced, having observed that he found them always near villages or abandoned settlements and not on other islands of the Aleutian chain.

BC range

Known mostly from the west side of the Coast and Cascade ranges, but extending inland in areas where moist Pacific air penetrates the mountains and in the Interior Wet Belt (Forsyth 2001, 2004).


Pacific Maritime; Montane Cordillera.


Pilsbry (1940) recognized four subspecies of Vespericola columbianus, in addition to the nominal subspecies, but most of these are now believed to be distinct species by Roth and Miller (1993). Until that revision, many authors identified British Columbia, Washington, and Alaska records as the subspecies “pilosa” under the misbelief that V. columbianus lacks periostracal hairs. Until the publication by Roth and Miller (1993) literature frequently cited British Columbia, Washington and Alaska records as V. columbianus pilosus (Henderson, 1928). However, based primarily on genital anatomy, Roth and Miller (1993). Based on newly discovered anatomical characters, as well as subtle differences in shell morphology, Roth and Miller (1993) demonstrated that V. pilosus (Henderson, 1928) is a distinct species that occurs in the vicinity of San Francisco. They provisionally called all Vespericola from Alaska, British Columbia and Washington V. columbianus.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS5YellowNot Listed

BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

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General References