This is the 'small aquatic' species of the middle and northern springs in the Lake Eyre supergroup. The shell is much smaller than F. accepta and F. aquatica. The operculum has strong pegs. The typical F. variabilis occurs in the middle and northern springs and the shell is usually smaller and more conical than typical F. variabilis and the animal is less pigmented. Both forms are found in the middle springs of the Lake Eyre supergroup, but typical variabilis is found in the larger springs and the conica form in the smaller springs (Ponder et al. 1989).
Original name: Fonscochlea (Fonscochlea) variabilis (typical) Ponder, Hershler and Jenkins, 1989. 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: Blanche Cup Spring, Lake Eyre Division, South Australia.
This form is the small aquatic species living in some Middle Springs. It is generally abundant in the upper outflow of the spring attached to hard objects such as pieces of wood, stones or bone. It is not amphibious. Lives together with Trochidrobia.
Artesian Springs of northern South Australia between Marree and Oodnadatta in the Lake Eyre Division. Middle, Northern and Freeling Springs.
This is one of several species of Fonscochlea found in northern South Australia. They are all very similar, being separated on small differences in size and shape of the shells and in anatomical details. They have pupiform shells with adults having a thin to slightly thickened aperture and the operculum usually bears one or more pegs. Fonscochlea are among the most geographically isolated tateid snails in Australia.
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.