Temporal range: Ordovician–Present[1]
Grapevinesnail 01a.jpg
Air-breathing land gastropod Helix pomatia, the Roman snail
Scientific classification e
Cuvier, 1795[2]

See text.

65,000 to 80,000 species[3][4]

The gastropods (d/), more commonly known as snails and slugs, belong to a large taxonomic class of invertebrates within the phylum Mollusca, called Gastropoda. This class includes snails and slugs of all species and sizes, from microscopic to Achatina achatina, the largest known land gastropod. Many thousands of species of sea snails and slugs, as well as freshwater snails, freshwater limpets, and land snails and slugs, live on Earth.

The class Gastropoda contains a vast total of named species, second only to the insects in overall number. The fossil history of this class goes back to the Late Cambrian. As of 2017, 721 families of gastropods are known, of which 245 are extinct and appear only in the fossil record, while 476 are currently extant with or without a fossil record.[5]

Gastropoda (previously known as univalves and sometimes spelled "Gasteropoda") are a major part of the phylum Mollusca, and are the most highly diversified class in the phylum, with 65,000 to 80,000[3][4] living snail and slug species. The anatomy, behavior, feeding, and reproductive adaptations of gastropods vary significantly from one clade or group to another. Therefore, it is difficult to state many generalities for all gastropods.

The class Gastropoda has an extraordinary diversification of habitats. Representatives live in gardens, woodland, deserts, and on mountains; in small ditches, great rivers and lakes; in estuaries, mudflats, the rocky intertidal, the sandy subtidal, in the abyssal depths of the oceans including the hydrothermal vents, and numerous other ecological niches, including parasitic ones.

Although the name "snail" can be, and often is, applied to all the members of this class, commonly this word means only those species with an external shell big enough that the soft parts can withdraw completely into it. Those gastropods without a shell, and those with only a very reduced or internal shell, are usually known as slugs; those with a shell into which they cannot withdraw are termed limpets.

The marine shelled species of gastropod include species such as abalone, conches, periwinkles, whelks, and numerous other sea snails that produce seashells that are coiled in the adult stage—though in some, the coiling may not be very visible, for example in cowries. In a number of families of species, such as all the various limpets, the shell is coiled only in the larval stage, and is a simple conical structure after that.


In the scientific literature, gastropods were described under "gasteropodes" by Georges Cuvier in 1795.[2] Cuvier chose "gastropod" by derivation from the Ancient Greek words γαστήρ (gastér) "stomach", and ποδὸς (podòs) "foot".

The earlier name univalve means "one valve" or shell, in contrast to bivalve applied to mollusks such as clams and meaning that those animals possess two valves or shells.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Slak
Ænglisc: Snægel
العربية: بطنيات القدم
azərbaycanca: İlbizlər
تۆرکجه: ایلبیزلر
Bahasa Banjar: Gondang
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Чэраваногія
български: Коремоноги
Boarisch: Schneckn
bosanski: Puževi
brezhoneg: Gastropoda
català: Gastròpodes
Cebuano: Hilahila
čeština: Plži
Cymraeg: Gastropod
dansk: Snegle
Deutsch: Schnecken
eesti: Teod
Ελληνικά: Γαστερόποδα
español: Gastropoda
Esperanto: Gastropodoj
euskara: Gastropoda
føroyskt: Sniglar
français: Gastropoda
Gaeilge: Gastropoda
한국어: 복족류
Հայերեն: Փորոտանիներ
हिन्दी: उदरपाद
hrvatski: Puževi
Bahasa Indonesia: Gastropoda
interlingua: Gastropodos
íslenska: Sniglar
italiano: Gastropoda
עברית: חלזונות
Basa Jawa: Siput
коми: Лёльӧ
kurdî: Zikpê
Latina: Gastropoda
latviešu: Gliemeži
lietuvių: Pilvakojai
Limburgs: Slekke
Livvinkarjala: Edenöit
lumbaart: Gastropoda
magyar: Csigák
македонски: Полжави
მარგალური: ქვარაკუჩხამეფი
монгол: Эмгэн хумс
Nederlands: Slakken
Nedersaksies: Slekken
日本語: 腹足綱
Nordfriisk: Sneken
norsk: Snegler
norsk nynorsk: Sniglar
polski: Ślimaki
português: Gastropoda
română: Gastropoda
Runa Simi: Wiksachaki
русский: Брюхоногие
Scots: Gastropoda
shqip: Kërmilli
Simple English: Gastropoda
slovenčina: Ulitníky
slovenščina: Polži
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Puževi
suomi: Kotilot
svenska: Snäckor
Tagalog: Gastropoda
українська: Черевоногі
Tiếng Việt: Lớp Chân bụng
West-Vlams: Slekkn
Winaray: Gastropoda
粵語: 腹足綱
中文: 腹足纲
Lingua Franca Nova: Gastropoda