Common Name

Scientific Name

View Utah Distribution Map

Photo by Wayne A. Herbel
Photo Copyright Wayne A. Herbel

Utah Taxonomy

Call (1884) arranged utahensis as a variety of Valvata sincera in the original description, the type locality being "Lake Utah, Utah."

No subspecies are currently recognized in this species.

Status in Utah

Call (1884) reported the only Utah population of this species, now extirpated. This species was found historically in Utah Lake, seemingly living in 1883 (see Call 1884). All other Utah localities for the species are based either on prehistoric (i.e., fossil or subfossil) material or on misidentifications. For example, as recently as 1971 Russell (1971) reported living examples of this species from Fish Springs in Juab County, but this record proved to be a misidentification of Valvata humeralis (Taylor 1986).

Call (1884) wrote of this taxon: "It is a very abundant shell at the north end of Utah Lake at Lehi", and "This form was dredged in August, 1883, in great numbers in Utah Lake, near Lehi, not far from the head of the River Jordan." The latter statement suggests that Call may have found the species alive in 1883. Also, as Henderson (1931) pointed out, the fact that Call described the operculum of Valvata utahensis from Utah Lake suggests that he had collected it alive. Henderson and Daniels (1917), reporting their findings at Utah Lake, 2 miles south of Lehi, noted that "[v]ery few live mollusks were found except Succinea, but dead shells were abundant", including this species. Chamberlin and Jones (1929) discussing this species commented: "This form is plentiful in Utah Lake; but in all our collecting we did not find a living specimen." The species is now considered extirpated in Utah (Clarke 1991), and it appears that its extirpation occurred sometime around the turn of the century.

Various anthropogenic alterations of the aquatic environment may have extirpated this and other species (i.e., virtually all mollusks and several fishes) formerly found in Utah Lake, which, though originally a natural lake, has long been managed as a reservoir. Causes of the extinctions and extirpations of the formerly diverse molluscan fauna of Utah Lake are much more puzzling than those that led to the demise of the lake's ichthyofauna and probably will never be understood.

The existence of a few populations of this species in Idaho suggests that there is the remote possibility that a remnant population could be found in Utah. In the unlikely event that this were found to be so, such a population would almost certainly be somewhere in the northwestern quarter of the state.

This species is known from fossil material at other Utah localities (e.g., Bear Lake).

Habitats Utilized in Utah

In Utah, this species occurred historically in Utah Lake, a large, shallow, slightly alkaline, freshwater lake. Fossil material shows that it occurred prehistorically in Utah in other lakes (e.g., Bear Lake) and perhaps rivers (e.g., the Bear River).


  • 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.