Identification workshop: freshwater snails

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In this series of specialist identification workshops, you'll learn the basics of how to recognise insect species of a particular group, whether it's in our entomology lab or out in the field. This event is for adults only, read on to find out more about this particular workshop and its location.

This event

Freshwater snails play a vital role in food webs and water purification. Some indicate unspoilt or very specialised habitats, while others host unwelcome parasites, or are nuisance invaders. Some are very easy to find and identify while others are more difficult.

This one-day workshop will cover the identification and recording of over 50 species of freshwater snails found in Britain & Ireland. It will include species found in ponds, rivers, streams, canals, brackish water and the margins of saltmarsh and lagoons; plus a couple of amphibious snail species that are likely to fall in!

Particular emphasis will be given to species likely to occur in North-west England, and those for which more records are sought.

The day will begin with an introduction to snails’ roles and habitats, then focus on identification of their shells using keys. We will use specimens from the World Museum, Liverpool and the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. Microscopes will be used for the smaller species.

The course is aimed at those with no prior knowledge, though any experience of identifying invertebrates will be useful.

Participants are welcome to bring their own gastropod samples to have identifications verified on the day. If you have a copy of the 2021 FSC AIDGAP guide to the Freshwater Snails of Britain & Ireland, please bring it along.


Ben Rowson is a Senior Curator of Mollusca at Amgueddfa Cymru, and the Honorary Non-marine Recorder for the Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland. He was an author of the 2021 FSC freshwater snails guide, and the  2014 guide to slugs.

The Tanyptera Project

These events are part of The Tanyptera Project, a 7.5 year initiative (2017-2024) funded by the Tanyptera Trust to promote the study and conservation of insects and other invertebrates in the Lancashire and Cheshire region of NW England. You can learn more about it on the North West Invertebrates website here