Pulmonata, or "pulmonates", is an informal group (previously an order, and before that a subclass) of snails and slugs characterized by the ability to breathe air, by virtue of having a pallial lung instead of a gill, or gills. The group includes many land and freshwater families, and several marine families.

Temporal range: Carboniferous–recent
Pulmonata various examples 3.jpg
Various examples of Pulmonata
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Subclass: Heterobranchia
Informal group: Pulmonata
Cuvier, 1814
Taxonomic subdivisions

The taxon Pulmonata as traditionally defined was found to be polyphyletic in a molecular study per Jörger et al., dating from 2010.[1]

Pulmonata are known from the Carboniferous Period to the present.[2]

Pulmonates have a single atrium and kidney, and a concentrated, symmetrical, nervous system. The mantle cavity is located on the right side of the body, and lacks gills, instead being converted into a vascularised lung. Most species have a shell, but no operculum, although the group does also include several shell-less slugs. Pulmonates are hermaphroditic, and some groups possess love darts.[3]

Linnean taxonomyEdit

The taxonomy of this group according to the taxonomy of the Gastropoda (Ponder & Lindberg, 1997) was as follows:

Order Pulmonata Cuvier in Blainville, 1814 - pulmonates

Shells of pulmonate stylommatophoran snails in a museum collection
An artistic but scientifically incorrect version of various European land snails and slugs (one species here is not a pulmonate), their food plants and fungi, and a beetle that eats mollusks, bottom right.

2005 taxonomyEdit

Examples of Pulmonata: Achatina fulica top right, Bielzia coerulans top left, Praticolella berlandieriana center right, Megalobulimus oblongus in the center, Euglandina rosea center left, Helix pomatia bottom right & Ashmunella levettei bottom left

The taxonomy of this group according to the taxonomy of the Gastropoda (Bouchet & Rocroi, 2005)[4] was as follows:

Informal Group PulmonataEdit

Contains the informal group Basommatophora and the clade Eupulmonata

Informal Group BasommatophoraEdit

Contains the clade Hygrophila

Clade HygrophilaEdit

Clade EupulmonataEdit

Contains the clades Systellommatophora and Stylommatophora

Clade Systellommatophora ( = Gymnomorpha)Edit
Clade StylommatophoraEdit

Contains the subclades Elasmognatha, Orthurethra and the informal group Sigmurethra

Subclade ElasmognathaEdit
Subclade OrthurethraEdit
Informal Group SigmurethraEdit
limacoid cladeEdit
other SigmurethraEdit

Two superfamilies belongs to clade Sigmurethra, but they are not in the limacoid clade.

2010 taxonomyEdit

Jörger et al. (2010)[1] analyzed major groups within the Heterobranchia using genetic data and found that Pulmonata as traditionally defined was polyphyletic, for instance some pulmonates were more closely related to Sacoglossa and Acochlidia. They proposed the more inclusive taxon Panpulmonata to unite the clades Siphonarioidea, Sacoglossa, Glacidorboidea, Pyramidelloidea, Amphiboloidea, Hygrophila, Acochlidia and Eupulmonata.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Jörger, Katharina M; Stöger, Isabella; Kano, Yasunori; Fukuda, Hiroshi; Knebelsberger, Thomas; Schrödl, Michael (2010). "On the origin of Acochlidia and other enigmatic euthyneuran gastropods, with implications for the systematics of Heterobranchia". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 10 (1): 323. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-323. PMC 3087543. PMID 20973994.
  2. ^ (in Czech) Pek I., Vašíček Z., Roček Z., Hajn. V. & Mikuláš R. 1996. Základy zoopaleontologie. Olomouc, 264 pp., ISBN 80-7067-599-3.
  3. ^ Barnes, Robert D. (1982). Invertebrate Zoology. Philadelphia, PA: Holt-Saunders International. p. 377. ISBN 0-03-056747-5.
  4. ^ Bouchet, Philippe; Rocroi, Jean-Pierre; Frýda, Jiri; Hausdorf, Bernard; Ponder, Winston; Valdés, Ángel & Warén, Anders (2005). "Classification and nomenclator of gastropod families". Malacologia. Hackenheim, Germany: ConchBooks. 47 (1–2): 1–397. ISBN 3-925919-72-4. ISSN 0076-2997.

Further readingEdit

  • Wade, C. M.; Mordan, P. B.; Clarke, B. (2001). "A phylogeny of the land snails (Gastropoda: Pulmonata)". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 268 (1465): 413–422. doi:10.1098/rspb.2000.1372. PMC 1088622. PMID 11270439.
  • Holznagel, W. E.; Colgan, D. J.; Lydeard, C. (2010). "Pulmonate phylogeny based on 28S rRNA gene sequences: A framework for discussing habitat transitions and character transformation". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 57 (3): 1017–1025. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.09.021. PMID 20920591.

External linksEdit

  • Pulmonate snails & slugs in captivity