E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Carychium tridentatum (Risso, 1826)
Slender Herald Snail
Family: Ellobiidae
Species account author: Robert Forsyth.
Photo of species

© Robert Forsyth  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #48048)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Carychium tridentatum in British Columbia
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Species Information


The shell is closest to C. minimum but differs in being more slender, with the aperture about 1/3 of shell height and the internal parietal lamella with an undulating (double-flexed) edge.


Carychium tridentatum is known to reproduce without a mate, lives from a few months to about 1½ years, lays eggs singly, and eats leaf litter fragments (Morton 1955, Bulman 1990). These snails are protrandous hermaphrodites, have sexual succession like other ellobiids, which means that individuals are aphallic and functionally female during part of the year (Morton 1955).


Found in leaf litter in unkempt gardens of mature trees and shrubs in Vancouver.

This species and Carychium minimum are sympatric in places in Europe (Watson & Verdcourt 1953); however, C. tridentatum is less common in very wet places (e.g., marshes), and is more typical of permanently moist or mesic, but well-drained habitats (Kerney 1999). Carychium tridentatum occurs up to 2200 m in the Swiss Alps (Turner et al. 1998).


Global range

Native to Western Europe. Introduced to the U.S. and Canada (BC). Reported from Quincy, Massachusetts (Clapp 1912, Winslow 1922, Pilsbry 1948 as C. minimum according to Roth 1986) and Seattle, Washington (Holm 2010).

BC range

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, British Columbia (Holm 2010, Forsyth and Williston 2012).


In much of the older European literature, Carychium tridentatum was not always distinguished from C. minimum (see Watson and Vercourt 1953 for a review the history of these names and their use).

Etymology: Greek, karyx (κάρυξ), "a herald", signifying the ancient use of a shell as a trumpet; the gender is neuter. Latin, "tridentatum", "three-toothed”.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
ExoticSNAExoticNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-05-23 2:20:56 PM]
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