Species Profile

Puget Oregonian

Scientific Name: Cryptomastix devia
Other/Previous Names: Puget Oregonian Snail
Taxonomy Group: Molluscs
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2013
COSEWIC Status: Extirpated
COSEWIC Status Criteria:
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This large land snail is known in Canada from only three old records (1850-1905) from Vancouver Island and the Lower Fraser Valley of British Columbia. Extensive searches within the historical range have failed to find the species.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Extirpated in November 2002. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2013.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Extirpated
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2005-01-12

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

Go to advanced search

Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Habitat | Biology | Reasons for extirpation | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Puget Oregonian

Puget Oregonian  Photo 1



The Puget Oregonian Snail is a member of the Polygrid family, a large and diverse group of land snails that are found only in North America. The spiral shells of mature individuals are pale yellowish to brown, with a slightly flattened, globe-like shape, and five to six whorls that increase regularly in diameter. The aperture (opening in the shell) has a broad, whitish lip that is obviously bent backwards. There is also a tooth-like structure on the inside of the second-last whorl of the shell that sticks out into the aperture. The shells of adults are 18 to 26 mm in diameter. The body of the snail is light brown, and may have a lilac undertone. Young snails superficially resemble the adults, but lack both the lip at the aperture and the tooth-like structure.


Distribution and Population

The range of the Puget Oregonian Snail extended from extreme southwestern British Columbia through western Washington state to the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge in the United States. There are only three historical records of the Puget Oregonian Snail in Canada, and the most recent is from 1905. Despite surveys for land slugs and snails at 488 forested sites in southern British Columbia since 1986 and more than 100 hours searching 142 sites specifically for the Puget Oregonian Snail, no individuals were found.



No information is available on the habitats previously used by the Puget Oregonian Snail in Canada. In the United States, the snail lives in moist, old-growth forests, and forested riverbank areas at low and middle elevations. Essential habitat characteristics include: shade provided by the forest canopy, which conserves moisture and buffers fluctuations in temperature and moisture conditions on the forest floor; coarse woody debris and leaf litter for escape cover and egg-laying sites; and fungi for food.



Little is known of the ecology and life history of the Puget Oregonian Snail. The snails are hermaphroditic (have both male and female sexual organs) and move by creeping along on a sucker-like foot. Like other forest-dwelling land snails, the Puget Oregonian Snail probably needs protected, moist locations to lay eggs, takes at least five years to become sexually mature, and is long-lived. The diet of the Puget Oregonian Snail is unknown, but it is suspected to include plants and fungi. A wide variety of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and other invertebrates feed on land snails. The scattered distribution of the species throughout its range has led to the conclusion that the Puget Oregonian Snail is not very adept at dispersing to new locations. The poor ability of the snail to disperse probably means that, if it disappears from a local habitat patch, it is unlikely to repopulate that spot through immigration from another population.


Reasons for extirpation

The reason that the Puget Oregonian Snail became extirpated in Canada is unknown, and it seems likely that the species was uncommon when it did occur. Areas of historic records have undergone extensive habitat loss and fragmentation, and the quality of the remaining habitat has deteriorated. Populations of species at the extreme edge of their range also are more vulnerable to climatic fluctuations and chance events.



Federal Protection

The Snail Puget Oregonian is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.


Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Puget Oregonian Snail (Cryptomastix devia) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry


Recovery Team

BC Invertebrates Recovery Team

  • Jennifer Heron - Chair/Contact - Government of BC
    Phone: 604-222-6759  Fax: 604-660-1849  Send Email



PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

9 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Puget oregonian snail Cryptomastix devia in Canada (2013-12-31)

    The Puget oregonian snail is a member of the family Polygyridae, a large and diverse group of land snails endemic to North America. The shell of adults is 18-25 millimeters in diameter, pale yellowish to brown, and globose in form. The apertural lip of the shell is pale and broadly expanded, and a distinct, white, tooth-like structure (parietal denticle) is present within the aperture. The shell of juveniles contains short, microscopic, hair-like projections and lacks the parietal tooth and developed apertural lip of adults.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Puget Oregonian (2013-12-18)

    This large land snail is known in Canada from only three old records (1850-1905) from Vancouver Island and the Lower Fraser Valley of British Columbia. Extensive searches within the historical range have failed to find the species.
  • Response Statements - Puget Oregonian Snail (2004-04-21)

    A response statement is a communications document that identifies how the Minister of the Environment intends to respond to the assessment of a wildlife species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The document provides a start to the listing and recovery process for those species identified as being at risk, and provides timelines for action to the extent possible.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Puget Oregonian Snail (Cryptomastix devia) in Canada (2010-06-23)

    The Puget Oregonian Snail was listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) as Extirpated in January 2005. SARA section 37 requires the competent Minister to prepare a recovery strategy for all listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species. SARA section 44 allows the Minister to adopt all or part of an existing plan for the species if it meets the requirements under SARA for content (sub-sections 41(1) or (2)). The British Columbia Ministry of Environment led the development of this recovery strategy for the species in cooperation with Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service – Pacific and Yukon Region. All responsible jurisdictions reviewed and provided support for posting this recovery strategy. In the spirit of cooperation of the Accord, the Government of British Columbia has given permission to the Government of Canada to adopt the Recovery Strategy for Puget Oregonian Snail (Cryptomastix devia) in British Columbia (Appendix 1) under Section 44 of the Species at Risk Act. Environment Canada has included an addition which completes the SARA requirements for this recovery strategy, and excludes the section on Socio-Economic Considerations which is not required by the Act.


  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (2004-04-21)

    This Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of wildlife species done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 139, number 2, 2005) (2005-01-12)

    Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), is amended by Order of the Governor in Council (GIC), on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, by the addition of 73 species. This Order is based on scientific assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and follows consultations with provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal peoples, stakeholders and the public, and analysis of costs and benefits to Canadians.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2003 (2003-10-01)

    May 2003 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
  • COSEWIC Annual Report – 2012-2013 (2013-09-24)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2012 to September 2013) from November 25 to November 30, 2012 and from April 28 to May 3, 2013. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 73 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 2 Endangered: 28 Threatened: 19 Special Concern: 19 Data Deficient: 4 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 73 Of the 73 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 50 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species Under the Species At Risk Act: March 2004 (2004-03-03)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.
Date modified: