Print Fact Sheet

Austropeplea (Austropeplea) brazieri (Smith, 1882)

Disclaimer

This genus is in need of revision, and the species concepts we have used have not been rigorously tested. There are few morphological characters that allow separation between species and they are difficult to separate based on shell characters alone. This situation needs to be resolved by additional molecular and morphological studies, involving comprehensive sampling.

Diagnostic features

This species tends to have a smaller aperture than A. papyracea and some individuals of A. huonensis, as well as a less reflected mantle and generally has more shouldered whorls and a narrower parietal area compared to the other species. They also tend to be darker brown in colour. 

Classification

Austropeplea (Austropeplea) brazieri (Smith, 1882)

Common Name: New South Wales Fluke Pond Snail

Class Gastropoda

Subclass Heterobranchia

Order Hygrophila

Superfamily Lymnoidea

Family Lymnaeidae

Genus Austropeplea Cotton, 1942

Subgenus Austropeplea Cotton, 1942

Original name: Limnaea brazieri Smith, 1882. Smith, E. A. (1882). On the freshwater shells of Australia. Journal of the Linnean Society London, Zoology 16: 255-316.

Type locality: Glebe Pt, Sydney, NSW.

Synonyms: Limnaea victoriae Smith, 1882. Smith, E.A. 1882; Limnaea venustula Cherry, 1896 (nom. nud.); Glacilimnaea gelida Iredale, 1943; Simlimnea morbida Iredale, 1944; Simlimnea aegrifer Iredale, 1944.

State of taxonomy

Until recently, a large number of available names for these Australian lymnaeids (eg. Iredale 1943, 1944) were lumped as Austropeplea tomentosa (e.g., Boray & McMichael, 1961), a name based on a New Zealand species. Recent studies have shown that A. tomentosa is very different from the Australian taxa (Puslednik et al. 2009). However, unlike Puslednik et al. (2009), we tentatively recognise three species in SE Australia, based on differences in anatomy and molecules.

This genus is in need of revision and the species concepts we have used have not been rigorously tested. There are no clear cut shell characters that allow separation. The current situation is clearly far from satisfactory and can only be resolved by additional molecular and morphological studies involving dense sampling.

Biology and ecology

This species is found amongst water vegetation in dams, ponds, billabongs, rivers, streams, water logged pasture, springs and swamps etc. They are semi-amphibious - often found out of the water along the banks on damp mud. Common. They feed on algae and detritus. The egg mass a crescent-shaped jelly strip containing many small eggs. Development is direct.                                         

Additional information on the biology and ecology of members of this family can be found in Fauna of Australia, vol. 5B, p. 1069-1071.

Distribution

New South Wales, ACT, Victoria and southern Queensland.

It is quite likely that some or all of the western Victorian specimens may be shown to be A. papyracea.

Notes

This native lymnaeid species is gradually being replaced by the introduced Asian and American lymnaeids Radix viridis and Pseudosuccinea columella. This species is a vector of sheep liver fluke parasite.

Further reading

Beesley, P. L., Ross, G. J. B. & Wells, A., Eds. (1998). Mollusca: The Southern Synthesis. Parts A & B. Melbourne, CSIRO Publishing.

Boray, J. C. (1964). Studies on the ecology of Lymnaea tomentosa, the intermediate host of Fasciola hepatica. 1. History, geographical distribution, and environment. Australian Journal of Zoology 12: 217-230. 

Boray, J. C. (1966). Studies on the relative susceptability of some lymnaeids to infection with Fasciola hepatica and F. gigantica and on the adaptation of Fasciola spp. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 60: 114-123.

Boray, J. C. (1968). Host-parasite relationship between lymnaeid snails and Fasciola hepatica. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology, Lyon, ,France, Vetinary Medical Review, Leverkusen.

Boray, J. C. (1969). Experimental fascioliasis in Australia. Advances in Parasitology 7: 95-210.

Boray, J. C. & McMichael, D. F. (1961). The identity of the Australian lymnaeid snail host of Fasciola hepatica L. and its response to environment. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 12: 150-163.

Bradley, B. (1926). Note on the presence of Cercaria pigmentisa in Limnaea brazieri bred in an aquarium to which sheep fluke eggs has been added. The Medical Journal of Australia 1926: 3-7.

Campbell, N. J. (1977). Identifying liver fluke snails. Agricultural Gazette of New South Wales 88: 24-26. 

Gabriel, C. J. (1939). The freshwater Mollusca of Victoria. Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria 11: 100-139.

Hubendick, B. (1951). Recent Lymnaeidae: their variation, morphology, taxonomy, nomenclature and distribution. Kongliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademiens Handlingar 3: 1-223.

Inaba, A. (1969). Cytotaxonomic studies of lymnaeid snails. Malacologia 7: 143-168.

Iredale, T. (1943). A basic list of the fresh water Mollusca of Australia. Australian Zoologist 10: 188-230.

Iredale, T. (1944). Guide to the freshwater shells of New South Wales. Part 2. Australian Naturalist 11: 113–127.     

Ponder, W. F., Clark, S. A. & Dallwitz, M. J. (2000). Freshwater and estuarine molluscs: an interactive, illustrated key for New South Wales. Melbourne, CSIRO Publishing.

Puslednik, L. (2006). Systematics of the Australasian Lymnaeidae. Unpublished Doctoral Thesis for the School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong.

Puslednik, L., Ponder, W. F., Dowton, M. & Davis, A. R. (2009). Examining the phylogeny of the Australasian Lymnaeidae (Heterobranchia: Pulmonata: Gastropoda) using mitochondrial, nuclear and morphological markers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 52: 643-659.

Shea, M. (1995). Freshwater molluscs of Sydney. Australian Shell News 88: 4-6.

Smith, B. J. & Kershaw, R. C. (1979). Field guide to the non-marine Molluscs of South-eastern Australia. Canberra, A.N.U. Press.