Vertigo (Vertigo) geyeri | Geyer's Whorl Snail



Conservation status

Future Prospects
Overall Assessment of Conservation Status
Overall Trend in Conservation Status
Source: NPWS 2013.

IUCN Conservation Status
Ireland (1)Vulnerable    [A2c]
Europe (2)Least Concern
Global (2)Least Concern
Sources: (1): Byrne A. et al 2009; (2) Killeen, I., Moorkens, E. & Seddon, M.B. 2011.

Legal status

Protected by the following legal instruments:

  • Habitats Directive [92/42/EEC] Annex II

Native status


Species Biology


Geyer's Whorl-snail, Vertigo geyeri has a black head and tentacles and a glossy, dark brown shell with fine striations.

Shell size is to 2 mm only. Shell mouth is to the right of the shell (dextral), with 4 teeth obvious at the shell mouth. The lip of the shell is relatively small and is not connected to teeth by pale, opaque 'callosities' (thickenings of the shell).

Source: Cameron R., 2003.


Habitat for this species is invariably calcareous flushes. These can occur in other calcareous habitats or in otherwise predominantly acid habitats. Within this the snail is most often found among the wet, decaying roots of sedges and among mosses. Habitat is usually open, maintained as such through constant wetness and / or light grazing.

Source: Moorkens,E.A.& Killeen,I.J. 2011.

Habitats include but are not necessarily limited to;

  • Bogs (PB)
  • Fens and flushes (PF)
  • Dune slacks (CD5)
  • Machair (CD6)
  • Calcareous Springs (FP1)

Sources: Moorkens, E.A.& Killeen, I.J. 2011; Fossitt, J.A. 2001.


There is little available research on reproduction in Vertigo geyeri.

Threats faced

Abandonment of pastoral systems, lack of grazing.A04.03High
Intensive grazing
Water abstractions from groundwater
Surface water sbstractions for public water supply
Roads, motorways

Source: NPWS 2013

In the European IUCN Red List Assessment for Vertigo geyeri, in addtion to threats that match those identified in the Article 17 report 2013 for Ireland, the following were all identified as threats at a European level;

  • Peat Extraction
  • Eutrophication
  • Pesticides
  • Species composition change (succession and scrub encroachment)
  • Motorised Vehicular Damage to Habitats
  • Modification for Wind Energy Production
  • Artificial Planting on open ground
  • Fragmentation of Habitat
  • Rise of temperatures and extremes including Flooding

Source: Killeen, I., Moorkens, E. & Seddon, M.B. (2011)

Conservation actions

In the Article 17 Habitats Directive reporting for the period 2007-2012 no Conservation Actions were outlined other than;

  • Continued legal protection of the species and its habitats inside Natura 2000 sites designated for the species.
Source: NPWS 2013.

In the European IUCN Red List Assessment Version 2014.2 for Vertigo geyeri, suggested Conservation Actions included;

  • Monitoring programmes
  • Grazing management
Source: Killeen, I., Moorkens, E. & Seddon, M.B. 2011


World distribution(GBIF)

Found throughout British Isles and in Scandinavia (mostly Sweden). Isolated populations also occur in Central Europe. The species is very habitat specific and the Irish population is important in a global context.
Source: Byrne A. et al 2009

Accuracy of world distribution shown in theGlobal Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) map below will be constrained by, amongst other factors, data held butnot shared by countries and organizations not participating in the GBIF.

Irish distribution

It has a patchy distribution throughout the midlands, west and north-west of the country. Generally absent from the south and east of the country.

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2020

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.

How can you help

The National BiodiversityData Centre is trying to improve our knowledge on the distribution of Geyer's Whorl Snail in Ireland. Should you observe this species, please submit sightings to add to the database. Detailed observations will assist us gaining a better insight into where Geyer's Whorl Snail is most abundant in Ireland and we might also be able to detect regional variations. Please submit any sightings and photographs at:

All records submitted online can be viewed on Google Maps – once checked and validated these will beadded to the database and made available for conservation and research.

Further information

For further information contact Dr. Liam Lysaght



Byrne, A., Moorkens, E.A., Anderson, R., Killeen, I.J. & Regan, E.C. (2009) Ireland Red List No. 2 – Non-Marine Molluscs. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dublin, Ireland.

Fossitt, J.A. (2001) A Guide to Habitats in Ireland. The Heritage Council.

NPWS (2013) The Status of EU Protected Habitats and Species in Ireland.  Species Assessments Volume 3. Version 1.0. Unpublished Report, National Parks & Wildlife Services. Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Dublin, Ireland.

Killeen, I., Moorkens, E. & Seddon, M.B. 2011. Vertigo geyeri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 05 January 2015.

Moorkens,E.A. & Killeen,I.J (2011) Monitoring and Condition Assessment of Populations of Vertigo geyeri,Vertigo angustiorandVertigo moulinsiana in Ireland.Irish Wildlife Manuals,No.55.National Parks and Wildlife Service,Department of Arts,Heritage and Gaeltacht, Dublin, Ireland.