Biological Invasions

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 759–764 | Cite as

A fast snail’s pace: colonization of Central Europe by Mediterranean gastropods

  • Alena Peltanová
  • Adam Petrusek
  • Petr Kment
  • Lucie Juřičková
Invasion Note


Central Europe faces an influx of terrestrial invertebrates from more southerly regions, in particular from the Mediterranean. This process is particularly noticeable among terrestrial gastropods. In the last 30 years, the number of non-native land snail species found outdoors in the Czech Republic increased from 5 to 15 (8% of all species); more than half of these have presumed Mediterranean origin. The trend has accelerated recently; seven new alien species (six Mediterranean) have been recorded since 2000. As the most recent example, we report the finding of a large helicid species from the South-East Mediterranean, Helix lucorum. A well-established overwintering population was found in Prague, over 400 km from the nearest known localities of the species. This trend of newly established snails corresponds with increases in average temperatures as well as the intensity of foreign trade in the past six decades, suggesting a synergistic effect of both climatic conditions and socioeconomic factors.


Helix lucorum New record Long-range dispersal Passive transport Mediterranization Czech Republic 



This study was supported by projects of the Czech Ministry of Education (MSM0021620828 and MSM6293359101) and the Czech Ministry of Culture (MK00002327201). The first author thanks her husband Tomáš Peltan, who, despite being an architect, first recognized that the snail population in question is exceptional. Two anonymous referees provided comments that improved the previous version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alena Peltanová
    • 1
    • 2
  • Adam Petrusek
    • 1
  • Petr Kment
    • 3
  • Lucie Juřičková
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Ecology, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePraha 2Czech Republic
  2. 2.The Silva Tarouca Research Institute for Landscape and Ornamental GarderingPrůhoniceCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of EntomologyNational MuseumPraha 4Czech Republic
  4. 4.Department of Zoology, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePraha 2Czech Republic

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