Weekly Series
Nature Weekly
Short Notes on Nature Singapore

21 June 2020 | Miniature Awlsnail in Plant Pots | Subulina octona |

photo While I was browsing SG Farming in Apartments Facebook group pages recently, I came across 3 posts (12 Jun 2020, 6 Jun 2020 and 8 Dec 2019) on snail infestation in plant pots. From the pictures share, the snails were likely to be the Miniature Awlsnail (Subulina octona). This small land snail happened to be the resident snail in my pots as well. In one of the posts, the term cone snail was used to describe them though cone snails normally refers to marine snails.

Due to their abundance in my plant pots, these small snails were really good in clearing the dried leaves or flower that littered the soil surface. At times, they did consume seedlings of plants but I had not seen them climbing up on vegetation consuming leaves above ground level unless the leaves touched the ground. They are also considered as scavengers since they consumed small dead animals as well, such as dead fishes and freshwater snails from my mini aquarium. When clearing such carcases, they were supported by another scavenger, a long-term inhabitant in my potted area, the small red ants (Pheidole parva). Both the ants and snails co-existed very well in the small potted ecology system.

photo On 12 June, I saw a group of Miniature Awlsnail feeding on a small millipede that also resided in my pot. The dead millipede looked fresh but I doubt that it was attacked by the snails. There were many snails and millipedes in my pots that crossed each other’s path everyday and I had not once see them fighting with each other.

Miniature Awlsnail is from the family Subulinidae. After searching for more information of this snail in Singapore, I found a small pictorial guide book titled “A Guide to Snails and other Molluscs of Singapore” published in 2012 and 3 other publications [1-3] that mentioned the Miniature Awlsnail.

photo Recently, I noticed some holes on the leaves of my Aromatic Ginger (Kaempferia galanga) in my pot. However, I could not ascertain that it was the work of the Miniature Awlsnail as some holes were relatively large and only a few leaves had holes on them. The culprit might be beetles instead as I had seen them a few times in that area feasting on the leaves of Sweet Leaf Bush (Sauropus androgynus) and Broadleaf Maidenhair (Adiantum latifolium).

Around September 2016, I had kept a large land snail (Giant African Snail) in my potted area for a while till it decided to leave on its own one day without serving notice. This wild naturalised snail is an easy pet when compared to maintaining tanks of guppies or mollies or keeping a turtle.


[1] Chan SY. Confirmed occurrence of the awl snail, Striosubulina striatella, in Singapore. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2019:18. | Read article |

[2] Tan SK, Lim KKP, Chua MAH. Terrestrial snails and slugs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) of Pulau Tekong, Singapore. Nature In Singapore 2015;8:25-30. | Read article |

[3] Tan SK, Woo HPM. A Preliminary Checklist of the Molluscs of Singapore. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research 2010. | Read article |

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