Columella - Column Snails (Family Vertiginidae)
The Column snails are a group of snails in need of work. The shell is taller than wide; mostly fusiform and more columnar and less conic. The lip is simple with no tooth. However, some may be shorter and stouter (less fusiform, more pupillid-like, fitting more into group B1. The left side of the lip is slightly reflected, but the right side is simple. Approximate size range: 1-3 mm.
Two species have been recorded in Indiana: Columella edentula, the Toothless Column Snail, and Columella simplex, the High-spire Column Snail. Nature Serves notes a third species as presumed extirpated: Columella columella, the Mellow Column Snail.
High-spire Column Snail
Columella simplex (Gould, 1840)
Toothless Column Snail
Columella edentula (Draparnaud, 1805)
Hotopp et al. 2013 suggests that Columella simplex is a species-complex. Nature Serve Explorer (2/3/2021) notes that C. edentula may be synonymous with C. simplex, citing other authors. No key for separation is provided. The genus needs work.
According to Dourson (2010), Columella simplex is found in Kentucky with a subspecies - Columella columellar alticola (Ingersoll, 1875). See the images at the link above. Nekola and Coles' (2010) Pupillid land snails of eastern North America also has good descriptions and images.
Habitat: Column snails can be found in various forested and open habitats, including drier to wetter. They have been reported to climb vegetation and occur in leaf litter.
Status: Not clear these are actually two species or what number of species of Columella might exist in Indiana. Few occurrences have been noted. Needs work.