Vertigo paradoxa
Mystery vertigo

Key Characteristics

This is a tiny land snail with a cinnamon-colored cylindrical (beehive-shaped) shell that is 1.75 mm in height and 1 mm in width with 4.5 to 5 whorls. The aperture (main opening) has several shorter palatal lamellae (calcareous plates, ridges or "teeth" along the outer lip or terminal part of the body whorl) that do not enter deeply into the aperture.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S3S4
  • Global Rank: G4G5Q


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Vertigo paradoxa

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.


This species is found on calcareous outcrops and basalt outcrops. It is also found in calcareous upland dry-mesic forests with a thick layer of decaying leaves, in calcareous tamarack-dominated peatlands, and in cold, high-quality cedar swamps.

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.


Land-use activities that remove forest canopy cover and alter critical habitat requirements such as cool microclimate and moisture availability should be avoided at occupied sites. These include activities such as timber harvesting, residential development, and road building. The species also is sensitive to excessive trampling and ORV use. Hydrological changes should be strictly avoided. Use of prescribed fire in occupied sites should be avoided, if possible, or prescribed fire should be applied very conservatively, leaving multiple refugia and using a burn interval of at least 15 years.

Active Period

Active from first week of June to fourth week of September

Survey Methods

Surveys can be conducted anytime during the growing season, but are most successful in spring and fall following rain showers or when the soil is moist, and during higher relative humidity conditions and cooler temperatures. Visual surveys consist of looking for individuals crawling on the ground, in moist leaf litter, and on or under woody debris. Litter sampling consists of collecting soil and leaf litter samples in the field and drying, sifting and looking for snail shells in the litter samples in the laboratory.

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Sep 22, 2018]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract


Survey References

Technical References

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