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Notopala Cotton, 1935

Diagnostic features

Moderately large to large globose to conical smooth or spirally lirate shells with simple, rounded apertures, umbilicate. Fine spiral sculpture, if present, usually granulate. Colour uniform yellow, olive green or brown, sometimes with darker spiral bands above the periphery (never on the base). Operculum concentric, horny.

Head-foot with long tentacles with eyes on short processes at their outer bases; often pigmented with multiple different colours.


Class Gastropoda

Subclass Caenogastropoda

Order Architaenioglossa

Superfamily Viviparioidea

Family Viviparidae

Subfamily: Bellamyinae

Genus Notopala Cotton, 1935

Type species: Paludina hanleyi Frauenfeld, 1862, by original designation

Original reference: Cotton, BC., 1935. Recent Australian Viviparidae and a fossil species. Records of the South Australian Museum 5, 339-344.

Type locality: Murray River, Australia.

Synonym: Notopalena Iredale, 1943

State of taxonomy

The taxonomy used here for Viviparidae is largely based on unpublished research by W. Ponder.

Several undescribed taxa are known that mainly occur in areas outside the distribution of the species recognised here (see map).

Biology and ecology

On fine sediment, or on and under rocks and logs. Separate sexes, with males possessing a modified right cephalic tentacle as a penis. Females brood embryos in their pallial oviduct, which are released as mobile juveniles. Some species are able to aestivate in mud during dry periods.


Native to Australia. Occurs in northern Australia and throughout Queensland, and extending into the Murray-Darling Basin in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia (see map).


Notopala is similar to some Asian genera, such as Filopaludina Habe and Idiopoma Pilsbry (Stoddard, 1982).

Further reading

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

Cotton, B. C. (1935a). The Australian viviparous river snails. Victorian Naturalist 52: 96-99.

Cotton, B. C. (1935b). Recent Australian Viviparidae and a fossil species. Records of the South Australian Museum 5: 339-344.

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

Martens, E. C. von (1865). On the Australian species of Paludina. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History series 3 16: 255-256.

Ponder, W. F., Clark, S. A. & Dallwitz, M. J. (2000). Freshwater and estuarine molluscs: an interactive, illustrated key for New South Wales. Melbourne, CSIRO Publishing.

Prashard, B. 1928. Recent and fossil Viviparidae. A study in distribution, evolution and palaeogeography. Memoirs of the Indian Museum 8: 153-251.

Sheldon, F. & Walker, K. F. (1993). Shell variation in Australian Notopala (Gastropoda: Prosobranchia: Viviparidae). Journal of the Malacological Society of Australia 14: 59-71.

Simone, L. R. L. (2004). Comparative morphology and phylogeny of representatives of the superfamilies of architaenioglossans and the Annulariidae (Mollusca, Caenogastropoda). Arquivos do Museu National 62: 387-504.

Smith, B. J. (1992). Non-marine Mollusca. Pp. i-xii, 1-408 in W. W. K. Houston. Zoological Catalogue of Australia, 8. Canberra, Australian Government Publishing Service.

Stoddart, J. A. (1982). Western Australian viviparids (Prosobranchia: Mollusca). Journal of the Malacological Society of Australia 5: 167-173.