Virginia Land Snails

Photo(s): Shell of Hawaiia minuscula, by Larry Watrous ©.

Click photo(s) to enlarge.

Hawaiia minuscula (A. Binney, 1841)

Family: Pristilomatidae
Common name: Minute Gem

Width: 2.5 mm
Height: 1.2 mm
Whorls: 4

The tiny shell of Hawaiia minuscula has a matte shell finish with a wide, shallow umbilicus. Regular, tubular whorls end in a rounded, thin-lipped aperture. Excepting the smooth nuclear whorl, its surface is cross-hatched with fine, irregularly-spaced growth lines and minute spiral striae. Microsculpture is less distinct on the base. It may be mistaken for Lucilla scintilla, which lacks H. minuscula’s microsculpture.

Hawaiia minuscula is generally known to inhabit leaf litter on wooded slopes. However, Hubricht (1985) reported that he has only found it on the bare ground (never in leaf litter) of floodplains, meadows, abandoned urban terrain, and along roads and railroads. In Tennessee it was found in a variety of habitats, and its presence was correlated with drier, more acidic soils at relatively higher elevations (Coney et al., 1982). Also in Tennessee, it has been found in caves (Lewis, 2005).

Synonyms for H. minuscula include: Chanomphalus minusculus, Helix kawaiensis, H. minuscula, H. minutalis, Pseudohyalina minuscula, Pseudovitrea minuscula alachuana, P. m. minuscula, Zonites minusculus, Z. m. var. alachuana, and Zonitoides minusculus.

This snail is known from across the United States, with fewer occurrences in Western states. In Virginia it is reported from scattered counties throughout the state.

NatureServe Global Rank: G5
NatureServe State Rank: SNR


Ken Hotopp, Meegan Winslow 11/2012

Range Map