Plants and Animals

Appalachina sayanus Spike-lip crater

species photo
Kraig Korroch
species photo
Kraig Korroch

Key Characteristics

The spike-lip crater is a medium-sized land snail with a pale yellow umbillicate shell (having an opening in the center) that is 0.8 - 1.1 inches (20-27 mm) in diameter. The shell has 5 1/2 whorls, and is depressed-helicoid in shape (flattened whorls). The aperture (shell opening) has a parietal tooth (small, narrow projection on the inside wall) as well as a basal tooth (projection on the end of lip toward the deep central opening).

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: S1 - Critically imperiled


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Antrim 2 1938
Charlevoix 3 1938
Cheboygan 2 1948
Huron 1 1950
Montmorency 3 2001
Ogemaw 1 1947
Oscoda 1 1939
Otsego 1 1938
Presque Isle 3 1948

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 spike-lip crater is found in moist leaf litter and near logs on wooded hillsides in mesic to wet-mesic deciduous forests, slopes, and areas with calcareous soils, often adjacent to cedar swamps, forested floodplains, or lowland hardwoods.

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.

Management Recommendations

Land-use activities that remove forest canopy cover and alter critical habitat requirements such as 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.

Active Period

Active from third week of March 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.

Litter sampling

Survey Period: From third week of August to fourth week of September

Humidity: Humid
Precipitation: Just after rain

Survey Period: From third week of March to fourth week of June

Humidity: Humid
Precipitation: Just after rain

Visual surveys

Survey Period: From third week of August to fourth week of September

Humidity: Humid
Precipitation: Just after rain

Survey Period: From third week of March to fourth week of June

Humidity: Humid
Precipitation: Just after rain


Survey References

  • Nekola, J.C. 1998. Terrestrial Gastropd Inventory of the Niagaran Escarpment and Keweenaw Volcanic Belt in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Small Grants Program, 1998 Nongame Wildlife Fund, Natural Heritage Program, Michigan DNR, Lansing. 133pp.
  • Schilthuizen, M. and H.A. Rutjes. 2001. Land snail diversity in a square kilometer of tropical rainforest in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Journal of Molluscan Studies 67:417-423.

Technical References

  • Burch, J.B. and Y. Jung. 1988. Land Snails of the University of Michigan Biological Station area. Walkerana 3(9)
  • Lee, Y. 2002. Special Animal Abstract for Appalachina sayana (Spike-lip crater). Michigan Natural Features Inventory. Lansing, MI. 4pp.
  • Nekola, J.C., T.A. Smith and T.J. Frest. 1996. Land snails of Door Peninsula natural habitats. Final report to the Wisconsin Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. 55pp.

More Information