Cochlicopa - Pillar Snails (Family Cochlicopidae)
Cochlicopa lubrica (Muller, 1774)
Pillar snails have a notable shape – a bit like a grain of rice. The three species of Pillar snails found in Indiana are easily distinguished from other land snails by their size (~ 5-7 mm diameter), columnar/conical shell, and lack of apertural teeth, and general form. The apertural lip is not reflected but is thickened slightly (callused).
The Appalachian Pillar has a thinner callus rim and is more elongate and narrower than the Glossy or Thin Pillars. The Thin Pillar is the smallest of the three (4.5-7 mm diameter), while the Glossy Pillar overlaps both (5-7.5 mm).
1a. The edge of apertural lip thicker (callused), shell more elongate (6.6-7.2 mm diameter) and narrow; taller and browner - Appalachian Pillar (C. moreseana)
1b. The edge of apertural lip thinner, shell mostly less elongate (4.5-7.5 mm diameter) and wider – (2)
2a. Smaller specimens (4.5-6.8 mm diameter), relatively smaller and more cylindrica – Thin Pillar (C. lubricella)
2b. Larger specimens, “robust” shell (5-7.5 mm diameter) – Glossy Pillar (C. lubrica)
All three Pillar snails are described in Dourson (2015) and at Land Snails and Slugs of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States (Hotopp et al. 2013).
The Glossy Pillar Cochlicopa lubrica (Muller, 1774)
Identification: Shell taller than wide; lip simple with no tooth; mostly fusiform (species pictured above).
Comparisons: The Glossy Pillar is larger and more cylindrical than the Thin Pillar and has a thinner lip and wider body than the Appalachian Pillar. Habitat is also useful.
Habitat: The Glossy Pillar can be found in meadows and wet grassy areas, like disturbed sites (yards and road verges) with thin litter. Hubricht (1984) says he never found it in woods. It does share habitat with the Thin Pillar.
Status: Not widely distributed in the state.
Identification: Shells taller than wide; lip simple with no tooth; mostly fusiform.
Comparisons: Cochlicopa lubricella is smaller (although there is some overlap) and more cylindrical and compact than C. lubrica. The Appalachian Pillar has a thinner callus rim and is more elongate (6.6-7.2 mm diameter) and narrower than the Glossy or Thin Pillars. The Thin Pillar is the smallest of the three (4.5-7 mm diameter), while the Glossy Pillar overlaps both (5-7.5 mm diameter). (Dourson 2015 and CMNH 2021)
Habitat: The Appalachian Pillar is found within or under deep moist leaf litter in upland woods. The Thin Pillar may prefer drier places such as limestone, grasslands, as wells as the yards and road verges. It does share habitat with the Glossy Pillar.
Status: Not widely distributed in the state, the Thin Pillar in the north and the Appalachian Pillar to the south.