Anguispira picta

Geographic Range

The Painted Snake Coiled Forest Snail has only been found in a small cove southwest of Sherwood, Franklin County, Tennessee. This snail was discovered in 1906 and has not been found in any other locality even though it has been searched for specifically (USFWS 1982).


Anguispira picta can be found within crevices or under ledges of limestone. The snails tend to avoid areas where there is heavy growth of mosses. A. picta seems to enjoy this habitat because of the dense, mature forest and moist conditions. Also, the quantity of exposed limestones results in an abundant food source of lichens as well as plenty of cover. Adults and juveniles occupy the same habitats. (USFWS 1982).

Physical Description

The Painted Snake Coiled Forest Snail adults range from 17-21 mm in width, 9-10 mm in height and have six whorls. The shell is dome-shaped and opaque with an off-white to cream base color and brown spots on the upper surface. There is a row of larger dark spots on the lower surface with a second row of "narrow, very faint, flame-like markings" spreading into the umbilicus. The more translucent shells of the juveniles have more colorful (often orange) markings (USFWS 1982, FWIE 1996).


The majority of land snails are hermaphrodites, having both male and female reproductive abilities within a single body. Self-fertilization is rare, and they are more likely to copulate and exchange some type of spermatophore. There is often a courtship display preceding copulation. Jelly-like eggs are produced from internal fertilization. Anguispira are known to deposit eggs with a calcareous shell covered by a thin membrane in the soil. These snails reach sexual maturity as early as a year to a year and a half after hatching (USFWS 1982, FWIE 1996).


The Painted Snake Coiled Forest Snail are not known to have any parental care. Unlike other lands snails, Anguispira picta is not known to be strictly territorial (FWIE 1996).

Food Habits

Little is known about this particular snails' eating habits. Through observation researchers have inferred that the snails are herbivores and feed on low growing lichens found on the limestone in the cove. However,no stomach analyses have been performed to confirm their hypotheses. These snails tend to avoid rock that has heavy growths of moss on its surfaces. Both the adults and juveniles were found searching for food both day and night (USFWS 1982).

Conservation Status

The Painted Snake Coiled Forest Snake is considered threatened because it is confined to one particular area in Tennessee which could easily be detroyed. There has been some obvious loss of habitat as a result of human activity, although the exact amount of loss has not been calculated. Limestone quarrying, extensive lumbering, or even a forest fire could easily destroy the area. A completed Painted Snake Coiled Forest Snail recovery plan has been approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS 1982).


Rebecca L. Freedman (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.


bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1982. Painted Snake Coiled Forest Snail Recovery Plan. U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia. 26 pp.

Fish and Wildlife Service, 1982. "U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta Georgia" (On-line pdf). Painted Snake Coiled Forest Snail Recovery Plan. Accessed March 06, 2014 at