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Austropyrgus smithii (Petterd, 1889)

Diagnostic features

This species belongs to the Austropyrgus cooma group, whose members are characterised by generally pupiform to conical, small to medium sized shells, where the last whorl and base are evenly convex. A. smithii differs from other members of the group in the following combination of characters: shell small, with convex spire outline and slightly convex whorls; pallial vas deferens straight at prostate gland; penis base pigmented; anterior end of capsule gland tapering.

This species can be found in sympatry with at least two species of Austropyrgus (A. nanoacuminatus and A. conicus) throughout its currently recognized range. It is most similar to A. conicus, from which it differs mainly in its narrower shell.


Austropyrgus smithii (Petterd, 1889)

Class Gastropoda

Subclass Caenogastropoda

Order Littorinimorpha

Superfamily Truncatelloidea

Family Tateidae

Genus Austropyrgus Cotton, 1942

Original name: Potamopyrgus smithii Petterd, 1889. Petterd, W. F. (1889). Contributions for a systematic catalogue of the aquatic shells of Tasmania. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 1888: 60–83, plates 1–4.

Type locality: Heazlewood River, Tasmania.

Biology and ecology

In streams on water weeds, hard substrate (rocks etc.) and crawling on litter and sediment. Can be locally abundant. Assumed to feed by scraping bacteria and microalgae. Lay solitary capsules containing a single egg. Direct development.

Additional information on the biology and ecology of members of this family can be found in Fauna of Australia, vol. 5B, p. 752-755.


This species is found in a number of the small streams and rivers of northwest Tasmania.


Although most species of Austropyrgus are geographically isolated and have restricted ranges, a few - such as A. smithii - have somewhat wider ranges.

Further reading

Clark, S. A., Miller, A. C. & Ponder, W. F. (2003). Revision of the snail genus Austropyrgus (Gastropoda: Hydrobiidae): a morphostatic radiation of freshwater gastropods in southeastern Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 28: 1–109.