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Notopala ampullaroides (Reeve, 1863)

Diagnostic features

This large riverine species differs from other species of Notopala in its short spire and large aperture, smooth or almost smooth shell and usually dark colour with often indistinct spiral lines.  


Notopala ampullaroides (Reeve, 1863)

Class Gastropoda

Subclass Caenogastropoda

Order Architaenioglossa

Superfamily Viviparioidea

Family Viviparidae

Subfamily: Bellamyinae

Genus Notopala Cotton, 1935

Original name: Paludina ampullaroides Reeve, 1863. Reeve, L. A. (1863). Monograph of the genus Paludina. Conchologica Iconica 14: plts 1, 5-11.

Type locality: Unknown.

Synonyms: Paludina australis Reeve, 1863 (preoccupied). Paludina affinis Martens, 1865 (preoccupied). Notopala essingtonensis Stoddart, 1982 (in part), fig. 2a (not of Frauenfeld, 1862).

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The taxonomy used here for Viviparidae is largely based on unpublished research by W. Ponder.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

Biology and ecology

This riverine species lives mostly under large stones in flowing rivers with permanent water. Although the biology of this species has not been studied, its anatomy shows that it is at least in part a suspension feeder, using the gill for filtering food from the water like other viviparids, and that it broods its eggs in the pallial oviduct. Brooded young are released sequentially (Stoddart 1982).


Northern Western Australia, Kimberley Region, in rivers.


Stoddart (1982) incorrectly treated this species as a synonym of N. essingtonensis.

Banded species of Notopala occur in several parts of northern Australia and Queensland that are similar to N. essingtonensis, N. tricincta and N. kingi but are thought to be different species (W. Ponder, unpublished studies). These should be identified simply as Notopala sp.

Further reading

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.

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

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.