Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Dr. Kevin J. Roe
Photo Courtesy of Delaware Museum of Natural History

Utah Taxonomy

Ferriss (1920) reported the subspecies neomexicana and cummingsi from his Utah collecting localities, but Pilsbry (1933) referred Ferriss' specimens of neomexicana to cummingsi. Thus, following Pilsbry's arrangement, only Oreohelix yavapai cummingsi occurs in Utah.

Status in Utah

In Utah this species is known from two localities, but it has not been detected in the state since the original discoveries in 1919 by Ferriss (1920).

This species has been reported only from 2 localities in Utah, one on Navajo Mountain and one in the Abajo Mountains near Monticello, both in San Juan County. Clarke and Hovingh (1994) discussed specimens "near Taggerts, Morgan County, in Weber Canyon" that "closely resemble O. yavapai ...." They added, though, that "[s]imilar specimens from that area have been identified as O. haydeni oquirrhensis form gabbiana (Hemphill) by Henderson & Daniels (1917)."

Ferriss (1920) found this species to be "abundant" at one locality near Monticello, but neither this population nor the Navajo Mountain population, for which Ferriss (1920) provided no indication of population size, have been relocated since Ferriss' initial discovery. Clarke and Hovingh (1994) searched for this species at the two Utah locations where Ferriss (1920) had reported it--on Navajo Mountain and in the Abajo Mountains near Monticello--and were unable to find any evidence of it; they concluded "that O. y. cummingsi ... may ... be uncommon or rare in both areas."

Clarke and Hovingh (1994) described heavy human disturbance and alterations to the environment on and around Navajo Mountain. Whether grazing and human activities have resulted in the extirpation of this population is not known; Clarke and Hovingh (1994) concluded, however, that "[a]lthough sheep grazing on Navajo Mountain and possible forest fires in both areas [i.e., Navajo Mountain and the Abajo Mountains near Monticello] could impact the subspecies [cummingsi], there appear to be no current threats to its existence."

This species was found only in 1919 (Ferriss 1920) at each of its two known Utah localities. The failure of Clarke and Hovingh (1994) to detect it at Ferriss' 2 Utah locations, however, is not sufficient to indicate its disappearance or decline in Utah, and no population trend for the species in Utah can be inferred.

Renewed efforts are needed to relocate the historical populations of Oreohelix yavapai in Utah which have not been seen since 1919.

Habitats Utilized in Utah

Navajo Mountain, according to Ferriss (1920), is primarily composed of sandstone, in some places heavily eroded into complex structure--"[m]any fairy bowers, coves and valleys" using Ferriss' terminology. On this mountain Ferriss (1920) reported finding this species, though not alive, "[a]mong the rocks of a large canyon" and also mentioned finding it "in the rock slides."

In the Abajo Mountains, Ferriss (1920) found this species "in the shale and also scattered among the rock slides and the aspens" in a setting of "peaks ... covered by thick groves of aspen and spruce with large open spaces of coarse grass and slides of sandstone fringed with wild currants and raspberries."


  • Text modified from: Oliver, George V. and William R. Bosworth III. 1999. Rare, imperiled, and recently extinct or extirpated mollusks of Utah[:] a literature review. Publication number 99-29. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Salt Lake City. 230 pp.