Pennsylvania Land Snails

Photo(s): Larry Watrous

Punctum minutissimum (I. Lea, 1841)

Common name: Small spot
Family Punctidae
Order Stylommatophora

This snail’s common name, “small spot,” is apt. It is among the smallest of Pennsylvania’s snails, though it is also relatively widespread in forests.

The shell of the small spot is little more than a millimeter wide and three-quarters of a millimeter tall (Pilsbry, 1948). Its whorls are sculptured with fine ridges, giving it a “neat” appearance. Its umbilicus is approximately one-quarter the shell’s width, and the lip is thin.

The small spot dwells in forest leaf litter throughout the state of Pennsylvania and the Eastern United States (Hubricht, 1985; Pilsbry, 1948), but is often overlooked due to its small size. Morse (in Pilsbry, 1948) says that this snail prefers the rotten bark of American beech trees and is often found in large fungi including Polyporus spp. and Boletus spp. The small spot appears to be finely attuned to calcium available in the leaf litter, as population sizes closely track this nutrient (Hotopp, 2002).

Ken Hotopp, 10/27/05

chkowlDevelopment of this site was supported by the generous contributions of Pennsylvanians to the Wild Resource Conservation Fund.