MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Vertigo (Vertigo) pygmaea (Draparnaud 1801) Common whorl snail
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Vertigo (Vertigo) pygmaea
© Dr Roy Anderson
Vertigo (Vertigo) pygmaea
© Dr Roy Anderson

Map hosted by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford
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A very small dextral, mid-brown shell of sub-globular shape. Aperture with 4-7 relatively prominent denticles: 1 parietal; usually 2 columellar; usually 2 palatal. Shell surface dull to slightly glossy with very fine sculpture, almost shagreened, silky. Viewed from the side the aperture has a pale crest running between the denticles. Widespread.

Key characteristics

  • A very small, dextral, mid-brown shell
  • Less tumid and more parallel-sided than other species
  • Lip thickened, somewhat reflected, with a white, thickened crest behind the lip (visible through the side of the shell)
  • There are 4-7 fairly prominent teeth: 1 parietal; usually 2 columellar; usually 2 palatal
  • Shell surface dull to slightly glossy, almost shagreened, silky


1.8-2.2 mm.

World Distribution

Found across Europe and across Eurasia and into North America. Distribution type: Circumpolar Wide-temperate (66).

GBIF distribution map [open in new tab]

Irish Distribution

Widespread in the south and in the central Plain but increasingly localised and coastal northwards and westwards.


  • Widespread in damp pastures and the margins of wetlands at low altitude, often in company with V. antivertigo and V. substriata
  • Fairly tolerant of low pH but declining northwards and westwards
  • In the north and west mostly in coastal habitats like dune grassland

Red List status

  • Near threatened (nt).

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Vertigo pygmaea

 Anderson, R., (2016). Vertigo (Vertigo) pygmaea (Draparnaud 1801). [In] MolluscIreland. Accessed on 2024-03-02.