Vertigo modesta modesta
A land snail (no common name)

Key Characteristics

The shell of Vertigo modesta modesta is elongate, quite small (.1 inches high), and of a medium to dark brown color, with 4-5 coarsely striated whorls and a rounded aperature showing 4 well-developed teeth in a cross formation.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: E
  • State Rank: S1
  • Global Rank: G5T4


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Vertigo modesta modesta

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.


In Michigan, two small colonies of this species have been found limited to cool, millimeter-deep soil accumulations among basalt boulders and clumps of fern (Polypodium vulgatum) at the base of talus slopes (Nekola 1998).

Specific Habitat Needs

needed in Volcanic cliff

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.


Further studies of Vertigo modesta modesta distribution are needed in order to implement effective management practices. As this species seems restricted to small, isolated colonies in very specific habitat, anthropogenic disturbance could easily impact the population. Protecting areas where suitable habitat exists may benefit the species.

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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