Land snail diversity in Brazil

Brazil is a megadiverse country, which is a fancy way of saying that it harbors a good portion of Earth’s biodiversity. Nevertheless, the known Brazilian land snail fauna is seemingly not that diverse, with just over 700 species. That is perhaps due to this fauna being little studied; some researchers estimate that only circa one third of the Brazilian land snail fauna is known. The bulk of the unknown species might lie with the so-called microgastropods, snails of 1 to 5 mm which live “hidden” in the undergrowth. In any event, even with the larger snails, it is very common to find entirely new species in virtually every sample we analyze.

Hidden diversity: cave-dwelling snails


Natural lab: island snails


The studies dealing with this fauna are:

  • CUNHA, C.M.; SALVADOR, R.B.; SIMONE, L.R.L. 2015. The terrestrial microgastropods of Trindade Island, Brazil (Gastropoda: Pulmonata). Spixiana 38(1): 139-143.  [PDF]
  • SALVADOR, R.B.; CUNHA, C.M.; SIMONE, L.R.L. 2013. Taxonomic revision of the orthalicid land snails (Pulmonata: Stylommatophora) from Trindade Island, Brazil. Journal of Natural History 47: 949-961.  [PDF]
  • SALVADOR, R.B; SILVA, N.G.; CUNHA, C.M.; SIMONE, L.R.L.; ALVES, R.J.V. 2014. Rediscovery of Living Land Snails on Trindade Island, Brazil. American Malacological Bulletin 32: 140-142.  [PDF]

A possible hotspot in Bahia

One area that is proving to be extremely diverse, including several new findings of large and colorful snails, is Bahia state. This diversity might be linked to the fact that this state harbors the boundaries of three Brazilian biomes: the Cerrado, the Caatinga and the Atlantic Rainforest. Such high diversity needs special attention, both for the preservation of the likely endemic areas as well as in-depth studies of basic biology and evolution of unusual adaptations to semi-arid or cave environments.In this regard, special attention is needed for the Caatinga and Cerrado environments, which are rarely targets of environmental and conservation activities.

Bahia diversity
Some of the new species recently described from Bahia. 1. Oxychona maculata, family Bulimulidae (shell length 17.9 mm). 2. Solaropsis alcobacensis, Pleurodontidae (33.2 mm). 3. Cyclodontina tapuia¸ Odontostomidae (22.9 mm). 4. Leiostracus fetidus, Bulimulidae (21.2 mm). 5. Kora corallina, Bulimulidae (43.4 mm).


Works reporting this diversity in Bahia are:

  • CAVALLARI, D.C.; SALVADOR, R.B.; SIMONE, L.R.L. 2016. A possible land snail diversity hotspot in Bahia state, Brazil. Tentacle 24: 14-16.  [PDF]
  • SALVADOR, R.B. & CAVALLARI, D.C. 2013. A New Oxychona species (Gastropoda: Pulmonata: Orthalicidae) from Bahia state, Brazil. Journal of Conchology 41: 315-318.  [PDF]
  • SALVADOR, R.B. & CAVALLARI, D.C. 2013. Taxonomic revision of Leiostracus onager and Leiostracus subtuszonatus (Gastropoda: Pulmonata: Orthalicidae). Journal of Conchology 41: 511-518.  [PDF]
  • SALVADOR, R.B. & CAVALLARI, D.C. 2014. A new species of Leiostracus from Bahia, Brazil (Gastropoda, Pulmonata, Orthalicidae). Iheringia, Série Zoologia, 104: 39-42.  [PDF]
  • SALVADOR, R.B. & SIMONE, L.R.L. 2015. Taxonomical study on a sample of land snails from Alcobaça (Bahia, Brazil), with description of a new species. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde A 8: 1-7.  [PDF]
  • SALVADOR, R.B. & SIMONE, L.R.L. 2014. New species of Cyclodontina from Bahia, Brazil (Gastropoda, Pulmonata, Odontostomidae). Iheringia, Série Zoologia, 104: 484-487.  [PDF]
  • SALVADOR, R.B. & SIMONE, L.R.L. 2016. A new species of Kora from Bahia, Brazil (Gastropoda: Pulmonata: Orthalicoidea), with an emended diagnosis of the genus. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde A, Neue Serie 9: 1–7.  [PDF]

Diversity everywhere

Works reporting this diversity elsewhere in Brazil are:

  • SALVADOR, R.B. & CAVALLARI, D.C. 2014. A new species of Leiostracus (Gastropoda, Pulmonata, Orthalicoidea) from Espírito Santo, Brazil. Iheringia, Série Zoologia, 104: 364-366.  [PDF]
  • SALVADOR, R.B.; CAVALLARI, D.C.; SIMONE, L.R.L. 2015. Taxonomical study on a sample of land snails from southeastern Tocantins state, Brazil, with description of a new species. Journal of Conchology 42: 67-78.  [PDF]
  • SALVADOR, R.B.; SILVA, N.G.; ALVES, R.J.V.; MOURA, R.L.; SIMONE, L.R.L. 2014. New records of Helicina inaequistriata (Gastropoda: Helicinidae) from Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo states, Brazil. Check List 10: 936-938.  [PDF]
  • SIMONE, L.R.L. & SALVADOR. 2016. Taxonomical study on a sample of land snails from Nanuque (Minas Gerais, Brazil), with descriptions of three new species. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde A, Neue Serie 9: 9–30.  [PDF]