Plants and Animals

Oxyloma peoriense Depressed ambersnail

Key Characteristics

Land snails of the genus Oxyloma are characterized by thin, tapering yellow to amber-colored shells of .3 to .8 inches in length. Other features include 2 to 4 whorls terminating in a small protruding spire and a large ovate aperature with a smooth, sharp lip. The snail body is large and cannot fully retract into the shell, bluntly rounded at the front and tapering behind, with both eye peduncles and tentacles being very short and thick.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G4G5 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from apparently secure to secure
State Rank: SNR - Not ranked


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Kent 1 1885
Macomb 1 Historical
Washtenaw 1 Historical

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.


Snails of this group are most often found alongside wetlands, lakes and rivers (Burch 1962). Oxyloma peoriense is frequently seen crawling on cattails (Hubricht 1985).

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

Gaining a better understanding of abundance, distribution and specific habitat requirements of the depressed ambersnail is necessary, as little information on the species is currently available. General land snail management depends greatly on habitat conservation including the prevention of habitat fragmentation and the loss of canopy and vegetative ground cover. Limiting heavy anthropogenic disturbance, which can destroy fragile land snail microhabitats, is also a priority. Herbicide/insecticide spraying should be kept to a minimum where vulnerable land snail populations are present, as the chemicals and heavy metals contained in many products are quickly bioaccumulated (Berger and Dallinger 1993, Prezio 1999, Regoli et al. 2006) and cause major shifts in feeding and reproductive behaviors (Notten et al. 2006).

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).

Litter sampling

Survey Period: From first week of April to first week of October

Time of Day: Daytime


Survey References

  • Nekola, J.C. 2003. Large-scale terrestrial gastropod community composition patterns in the Great Lakes region of North America. Diversity and Distributions 9:55-71.

Technical References

  • Baker, F.C. 1939. Fieldbook of Illinois Land Snails. Illinois Natural History Survey Manual 2, Urbana, Illinois. 166pp.
  • Berger, B. and R. Dallinger. 1993. Terrestrial snails as quantitative indicators of environmental metal pollution. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 25(1):65-84.
  • Burch, J.B. 1962. How to Know the Eastern Land Snails. William C. Brown Company Publishers, Dubuque. 214 pp.
  • Hubricht, L. 1985. The Distributions of Native Land Mollusks of the Eastern US. Field Museum of Natural History. Fieldiana: Zoology, No. 24.
  • Notten, M.J.M., A.J.P. Oosthoek, J. Rozema, and R. Aerts. 2006. Heavy metal pollution affects consumption and reproduction of the landsnail Cepaea nemoralis fed on naturally polluted Urtica dioica leaves. Ecotoxicology 15(3):295-304.
  • Prezio, J.R., M.W. Lankester, R.A. Lautenschlager, F.W. Bell. 1999. Effects of alternative conifer release treatments on terrestrial gastropods in regenerating spruce plantations. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 29(7):1141-48.
  • Regoli, F., S. Gorbi, D. Fattorini, S. Tedesco, A. Notti, N. Machella, R. Bocchetti, M. Benedetti, and F. Piva. 2006. Use of the Land Snail Helix aspersa as Sentinel Organism for Monitoring Ecotoxicologic Effects of Urban Pollution: An Integrated Approach. Environmental Health Perspectives 114(1):63-69.