Vertigo tridentata
Honey vertigo

Key Characteristics

The ovate to tapering oblong shell of the honey vertigo is approximately .08 inches in height with five smooth whorls of a glossy amber color and relatively few lamellae and folds. The body is short and tapering toward the back, with long and pointed eye peduncles and no tentacles.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: SNR
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Vertigo tridentata

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


The honey vertigo inhabits calcareous grasslands, wooded outcrops and mesic forests (Nekola 2009).

Specific Habitat Needs

needed in Mesic southern forest, Mesic northern forest, Alvar, Bedrock glade, Limestone bedrock glade

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.


As the majority of land snails are incapable of widely dispersing to search for new suitable habitat, habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation are considered their greatest threats (Kay 1995). Many vulnerable species of this group depend on moist microhabitats with a rich layer of organic litter and healthy, uncompacted soil (Nekola 2003). Increased edge area, forest canopy reductions, and the loss of vegetative ground cover through intensive recreational use and heavy grazing (Suominen 1999) may unfavorably alter microhabitat characteristics (Applegarth 1999, Gotmark et al. 2008, Walden 1995). Identification and conservation of important habitat areas for land snail species is a necessary first step toward management. Wild and prescribed fire has a significant negative effect on land snail abundance and diversity (Applegarth 1999, Nekola 2002). As large downed logs may provide important refuges during fire and drought, snags should be retained (Applegarth 1999). Alternatives to prescribed fire should be explored where vulnerable snails are present. Snails rapidly bioaccumulate chemical pollutants and heavy metals (Berger and Dallinger 1993, Regoli et al. 2006), high exposure to which has been found to prevent reproduction (Notten et al. 2006). Herbicides and insecticides should be applied with caution and affected populations monitored to evaluate impacts. Unchecked recreational rock climbing has a negative effect on the vegetation of limestone outcrops, which provides some of the most important habitat for a wide variety of terrestrial snails, including the honey vertigo (McMillan et al. 2003).

Active Period

Breeding from first week of May to fourth week of June

Survey Methods

As visual detection of this species is difficult, specimens are collected by litter sampling in suitable habitat. Samples are thoroughly heat-dried, soaked in water for a number of hours to separate the various components, and finally passed through a series of sieves. The shells are then able to be hand-picked from the remaining sample material (Nekola 2003).

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Aug 17, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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