Euconulus - Hive Snails (Family Euconulidae)
Euconulus, a Hive Snail
Hive Snails are easily distinguished from other land snails by their small size (< 4 mm in diameter) and hive shape. On the other hand, the identification of which species of hive snail you have is a different story.
The databases list 5 species with Indiana locations: Euconulus chersinus (Wild Hive Snail), Euconulus dentatus (Toothed Hive Snail), Euconulus fulvus (Brown Hive Snail), Euconulus trochulus (Silk Hive Snail) and Euconulus polygyratus (Fat Hive Snail).
According to the Nature Serve USA maps, three species are found in Indiana – Euconulus dentatus, E. polygyratus, and E. trochulus, but the latter only in one county (Clark County in the southeast) and two are not. E. fulvus is listed as "likely extirpated" in Nature Serve (yellow color in map below), but is the commonest species in the databases. E. chersinus is not listed in Nature Serve from IN, and has been considered a southeastern/Gulf Coast species, but may be spreading (see USA maps below KY and IL).
On the other hand, both E. chersinus and E. dentatus have been found over the Ohio River in Kentucky. It might be prudent to suggest that the status of all the species of Euconulus in Indiana needs further examination. Dourson (2015) describes some of these species and is a useful guide to identification within this difficult group.
Characters: Wider than tall, beehive or domed shape; ~2.5-3 mm in diameter. The hive snails are easily distinguished from other land snails by their hive shape and small size. However, determination to species is challenging.
Habitat: Hive snails can be found in moist or humid wooded hillsides and ravines associated with leafy litter and also on more level areas of woody habitat. Euconulus chersinus, E. trochulus, and E. fulvus prefer moister litter compared to E. dentatus.
Status: The true status is not known.
Working Key for 4 of the species based on information for Euconulus in Hotopp et al. 2013. Dourson (2010) describes some of these species as well and is a useful guide to identification within this difficult group. He suggests that E. polygyratus (not in this working key) has a "fatter build" than E. chersinus and is less glossy than E. fulvus. Oesch et al 2013 is also useful.
1a. Beehive-shaped, but more angular with the spire coming almost to a point with a flatter base – Euconulus trochulus
1b. Beehive-shaped, rounder – Go to 2
2a. The body whorl containing 1-3 radially-aligned lamellae (long teeth) viewed through the base of the shell in fresh specimens; may be more prevalent in juvenile specimens – Euconulus dentatus
2b. No teeth - Go to 3.
3a. Body whorl larger with fewer overall whorls (around 5 1/2) for the same diameter of shell as others – Euconulus fulvus
3b. Whorl pattern not skewed, radial and spiral striae are cross-hatched resulting in a less glossy shell compared to the others – Euconulus chersinus