Glutinous snail (Myxas glutinosa)

Glutinous snails
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Glutinous snail fact file

Glutinous snail description

GenusMyxas (1)

The glutinous snail has a translucent glossy shell, which is very fragile and amber in colour. The aperture (opening) is relatively large (2), and the voluminous mantle nearly covers the shell, causing the snail to feel sticky when handled, hence the common name (4).

Width: 1.2 cm (2)
Height: 1.5 cm (2)

Glutinous snail biology

Little is known of the biology of this species.


Glutinous snail range

The glutinous snail is found in Europe from Switzerland to Scandinavia and west to the UK (1) (3). Eastern European records are sparse. In the UK it is recorded (2002) in one lake site in North Wales. At a historic site in Oxfordshire where it was re-recorded in 1989, it has not been found since 1993 although annual surveys are conducted.

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.

Glutinous snail habitat

Found in slow-flowing, spacious water bodies (2) with clear, hard water which is free from sediment and nitrate and phosphate pollution (3). They also require a firm substrate (2).


Glutinous snail status

Listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN (1), listed as Endangered in the GB Red List, Vulnerable throughout Europe and fully protected by Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. A UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Data Deficient


Glutinous snail threats

Highly sensitive to physical disturbance and pollution (3).


Glutinous snail conservation

The glutinous snail is a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP). The Species Action Plan aims to protect and maintain the existing population, and undertake research into the ecology of the species. This work is co-ordinated by the Environment Agency. Under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, it is an offence to take, kill or injure the species, or damage its habitat (2).

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.
View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

To find out more about this species, see:



Information authenticated by the Environment Agency:



In molluscs, a fold of skin that encloses a space known as the mantle cavity, which contains the gills. The mantle is responsible for the secretion of the shell.


  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2009)
  2. The Environment Agency. (1998) Species Awareness leaflet Number 2. Snails. The Environment Agency, Bristol.
  3. UK BAP (January, 2002)
  4. Northern Ireland’s Priority Species and Species of Conservation Concern (September, 2009)

Image credit

Glutinous snails  
Glutinous snails

© Roy Anderson

Roy Anderson


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