Collecting & Handling Specimens

It is advised to always exercise caution when handling terrestrial gastropods as several species act as intermediate and reservoir hosts for parasites that can cause serious diseases in humans and domestic animals. Gloves should always be worn in order to limit physical contact with living and dead specimens and their associated mucus secretions. In the event of direct external contact with snails, slugs or their secretions, immediately wash affected area carefully with warm soapy water.

Collection and Preservation

Live specimens should be drowned in an airtight container that is completely filled with water. They should be left until completely drowned (i.e., unresponsive to touch). The specimen should then be transferred to 70 % ethyl alcohol for at least one hour then the alcohol should be replaced with fresh 70% alcohol.


The container should then be labeled with at least the following information: collection date, collector’s name and location. Be sure to retain the label when transferring specimens. The information may be recorded directly on the container or on a label that is placed inside the container. Collection information is very important and should be recorded at the time of collecting the specimen. It is recommended that the label be written in pencil as ink may be destroyed by the alcohol. If specimens are collected from different areas, they should be submitted separately.


All samples collected should be submitted to the USDA-APHIS-PPQ-NIS, along with the appropriate form. It is required by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that all domestically collected specimens be submitted with an accompanying PPQ 391 (IBP Record) form; specimens associated with imported cargo require a PPQ 309 record.

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