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Glyptophysa (Glyptophysasp(Edgbaston Springs) 


This genus is in need of revision, as the species concepts we have used have not been rigorously tested. Unpublished molecular data indicate that the species units we are here using appear to be justified, however they are not accompanied by clear-cut morphological characters that allow separation based on shell characters alone. As the species units appear to be overall concordant with state boundaries, we have used these boundaries to aid in delimiting species. This situation is not ideal, and can only be resolved by additional molecular and morphological studies involving dense sampling.

Diagnostic features

The taxonomy of Glyptophysa is very poorly understood. This is one of several species of relatively smooth shelled Glyptophysa but this species from Edgbaston Springs in western Queensland has a distinctive shell morphology and is here treated as a distinct, yet unnamed, species


Glyptophysa (Glyptophysasp(Edgbaston Springs) 

Class Gastropoda

Subclass Heterobranchia

Order Hygrophila

Superfamily Planorboidea

Family Planorbidae

Genus Glyptophysa Crosse, 1872

Subgenus Glyptophysa

State of taxonomy

The taxonomy of Glyptophysa is very poorly understood. A large number of species-group names are available and it is quite possible that more species occur in Australia.

Biology and ecology

On water weeds, wood etc., in ponds formed by the springs. Biology probably generally similar to other species of Glyptophysa.

Additional information on the biology and ecology of members of this family can be found in Fauna of Australia, vol. 5B, p. 1072-1074.


Known only from Edgbaston Springs, near Aramac, western Queensland (Lake Eyre Division)


This species is similar to the common introduced Haitia acuta (Physidae) in that both have similar-shaped, sinistral shells. Glyptophysa can be distinguished by the shell not being completely smooth (as it is in Haitia), Glyptophysa often - but not always - having some periostracal ornament. Haitia has a mottled mantle which can usually be seen through the semi- transparent shell whereas Glyptophysa has a uniformly dark-coloured mantle. The animal of Haitia has digitations (finger-like processes) along the mantle edge against the columella whereas this is smooth in GlyptophysaHaitia lacks a false gill (pseudobranch) which is present in Glyptophysa and all planorbids. The animal of Glyptophysa, if damaged when alive, has red-coloured blood whereas Haitia does not produce coloured blood.

Glyptophysa differs from the otherwise similar genus Isidorella in the penial apparatus having a penial stylet and an accessory flagellum. Isidorella lacks a stylet and an accessory structure but the penis has two lobes.

Further reading

Fensham, R. J., Ponder, W. F., and Fairfax, R. J. (2008). Recovery plan for the community of native species dependent on natural discharge of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin. Report to Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra. Queensland Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane.

Hubendick, B. (1955). Phylogeny of the Planorbidae. Transactions of the Zoological Society of London 28: 453-542.

Walker, J.C. (1988). Classification of Australian buliniform planorbids (Mollusca: Pulmonata). Records of the Australian Museum 40:61-89.