It's all greek(and latin)to me or what do those snail names mean?
Have you ever wondered why snails have the names that they have?Why is a Moss snail called like that and how did Helix apersa came by its name?Snail names can have different sources.Sometimes they are derived from their appearance or from the habitat they live in.In other examples they are named after their discoverers or in honor of a person. In most of the cases latin or greek names are used in naming snail species. I will give examples of all these possibilities.
Appearance Let's take one of the most common landsnails:Helix aspersa. Helix is greek for spiral;aspersus is latin for speckled. Another example:Strobilops labyrinthica Strobilos ops is greek for having the appearance of a pine cone;labyrinthus is a latin word for a labyrinth.(In this case refering to the lamellae in the aperture)
Habitat The most common garden snail is probably Cepaea nemoralis and got its name like this: Cepaea is derived from the greek word for garden:kepaios;nemoralis comes from the latin meaning inhabiting woods The Florida Apple snail,Pomacea paludosa,is named very aptly: Pomum the latin word for apple;palus also latin for swamp. An apple living in a swamp,to put it simply. Here is another one:Lymnaea stagnalis: limnaios is greek for pertaining to marshes;stagnum is latin for pool or swamp.
People Quite a few snail species are named after malacologists or other people. For example: Mesodon sayanus after Thomas Say,Stenotrema leai after Isaac Lea,Lioplax pilsbryi after H.A Pilsbry,and Cochlodinella poeyana after Felipe Poey.
Here is a small dictionary of snail etymology:
word origin meaning example of species or genus achates Gr. agate Achatina agrestis Lat. from the field Deroceras agreste allos gone Gr. different genitalia Allogona alternus Lat. alternating Anguispira alternata angustus Lat. narrow anguis spira Gr. snake coil Anguispira ater Lat. dark,blackish Arion ater canalis Lat. channel Newcombia canaliculata chondros poma Gr. grain operculum Chondropoma cinereus Lat. ash-like Limax cinereoniger cochlea Lat. snail(shell) Cochlicopa costa Lat. rib Vallonia costata decollatus Lat. decapitated Rumina decollata drymaios Gr. living in the forest Drymaeus ellobion Gr. earring Ellobium eu conulus Gr. real little cone Euconulus exiguus Lat. little Carychium exiguus flavus Lat. yellow Limax flavus fulica Lat. coot or waterhen Achatina fulica fuscus Lat. dark Arion subfuscus gastros,koptein Gr. stomach,to cut Gastrocopta gracilis Lat. graceful Allopeas gracile helix Gr. spiral Helix aspersa,Helicinus hirsutus Lat. hairy Stenotrema hirsuta karichion Gr. horn Carychium kerion Gr. honeycomb Cerion limnaios Gr. pertaining to marshes Lymnaea lubricus Lat. slippery Cochlicopa lubrica melas,pous Gr. black,foot Melampus meso,odon Gr. middle,tooth Mesodon niger Lat. black Limax cinereoniger obtusus Lat. blunt,dull Clavator obtusatus orbiculatus Lat. circular Helicogona orbiculata ouros,copt Gr. cut off tail Urocoptis oxeos,cheilos Gr. sharp,lip Oxychilus ous ostis Gr. ear Otala lactea palus Lat. swamp Lymnaea palustris physa Gr. bellows Physa pulcher Lat. beautiful Vallonia pulchella planus,orbus Lat. flat,circle Planorbus profundis Lat. deep Allogona profunda punctum Lat. point Punctum retineo Lat. restrain Retinella steno,trema Gr. narrow,aperture Stenotrema strobilos ops Gr. looking like a pine-cone Strobilopsis tenellus Lat. tender Limax tenellus tri,odous,ops Gr. three,tooth,near Triodopsis vertere Lat. to turn Vertigo