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Fonscochlea (Fonscochlea) Ponder, Hershler & Jenkins, 1989

Diagnostic features

Shell thin to moderately thick, aperture with thin to slightly thickened peristome. Operculum with prominent to weak pegs, sometimes absent in two species. Head-foot with cephalic tentacles only slightly longer than snout.

Female genital system unusual in having two equal sized sperm sacs (a bursa copulatrix and 'seminal receptacle') with their ducts emerging from their dorsal sides. Penis with swollen, unpigmented base bearing prominent concentric creases; distal two thirds smooth and tapering to point, often pigmented and muscular.


Class Gastropoda

Subclass Caenogastropoda

Order Littorinimorpha 

Superfamily Truncatelloidea

Family Tateidae

Genus Fonscochlea (Fonscochlea) Ponder, Hershler & Jenkins, 1989

Type species: Fonscochlea (Fonscochlea) accepta Ponder, Hershler & Jenkins, 1989

Original reference: Ponder, W. F., Hershler, R. & Jenkins, B. (1989). An endemic radiation of hydrobiid snails from artesian springs in northern South Australia: their taxonomy, physiology, distribution and anatomy.Malacologia 31: 1-140.

Type locality: Welcome Springs near Lake Eyre South, South Australia.

State of taxonomy

The typical subgenus includes five of the six known taxa of Fonscochlea. It encompasses two radiations, one of small species and the other of large species.

Biology and ecology

A largely aquatic subgenus, generally abundant at the head of springs and their outflows.  


Northern South Australia, Mound Springs of the Lake Eyre Supergroup. An extensive series of small springs that extend in a line between Oodnadatta and Marree in South Australia.

Further reading

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

Ponder, W. F. (1986). Mound Springs of the Great Artesian Basin. Pp. 403-420 in P. De Deckker & Williams, W. Limnology in Australia. Melbourne, CSIRO.

Ponder, W. F., Hershler, R. & Jenkins, B. (1989). An endemic radiation of Hydrobiidae from artesian springs in northern South Australia: their taxonomy, physiology, distribution and anatomy. Malacologia 31: 1-140.

Ponder, W. F., Eggler, P. E. & Colgan, D. J. (1995). Genetic differentiation of aquatic snails (Gastropoda: Hydrobiidae) from artesian springs in arid Australia. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 56: 553-596.

Ponder, W. F. (2004). Endemic aquatic macroinvertebrates of artesian springs of the Great Artesian Basin—progress and future directions. Records of the South Australian Museum Monograph Series 7: 101-110.

Wilmer, J. W., Hughes, J. M., Ma, J. & Wilcox, C. (2005). Characterization of microsatellite loci in the endemic mound spring snail Fonscochlea accepta and cross species amplification in four other hydrobiid snails. Molecular Ecology Notes 5: 205-207.

Wilmer, J. W. & Wilcox, C. (2007). Fine scale patterns of migration and gene flow in the endangered mound spring snail, Fonscochlea accepta (Mollusca: Hydrobiidae) in arid Australia. Conservation Genetics 8: 617-628.

Wilmer, J. W., Murray, L., Elkin, C., Wilcox, C., Niejalke, D. & Possingham, H. (2011). Catastrophic floods may pave the way for increased genetic diversity in endemic artesian spring snail populations. PLoS One 6: e28645.

Worthington Wilmer, J., Elkin, C., Wilcox, C., Murray, L., Niejalke, D. & Possingham, H. (2008). The influence of multiple dispersal mechanisms and landscape structure on population clustering and connectivity in fragmented artesian spring snail populations. Molecular Ecology 17: 3733-3751.