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Austropeplea (Austropeplea) papyracea (Tate, 1880)


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 have a large aperture and reflected mantle like that of A. papyracea.  They tend to be paler in colour than A. brazieri


Austropeplea (Austropeplea) papyracea (Tate, 1880)

Common name: South Australian Fluke Pond Snail

Class Gastropoda

Subclass Heterobranchia

Order Hygrophila

Superfamily Lymnoidea

Family Lymnaeidae

Genus Austropeplea Cotton, 1942

Subgenus Austropeplea Cotton, 1942

Original name: Lymnaea papyracea Tate, 1880. Tate, R. (1880). Descriptions of new species of South Australian pulmoniferous snails. Transactions and Proceedings of the Philosophical Society of South Australia 1878-9:133-136.

Type locality: Penola, South Australia.

Synonyms: Limnaea subaquatilis Tate, 1880; Lymnaea viridula Tate, 1882; Lymnaea aruntalis Cotton & Godfrey, 1938.

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.


South-eastern South Australia.


This species is a vector of sheep liver fluke parasite. Austropeplea papyracea is generally larger in size and has a very broad parietal area compared to other Austropeplea species.

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.

Cotton, B. C. (1943). More Australian freshwater shells. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 67: 143-148.

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

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

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.

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