Shell is small, stout, thick, elliptical and inflated. Umbo is moderately broad and low. Epidermis is light brown to greenish-brown, becomes dark brown to black with age. Inside shell beak cavity is shallow to moderately deep; pseudocardinal teeth thin, high, triangular and roughened; lateral teeth also thin but well developed, long, high and blade-like; nacre (lining) bluish-white, sometimes with salmon tinge, iridescent posteriorly.
Similar species: Purple lilliputs have larger, more rounded shells with distinctive purple nacre and are found in the southern Ozarks. Texas lilliputs, newly known in Missouri, have a satiny sheen to their shells.