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Notopala hanleyi (Frauenfeld, 1864)

Diagnostic features

This subspecies, once common in the Murray River, has now gone extinct in that river and in the Murrumbidgee River. It survives in a few irrigation pipelines (Sheldon and Walker, 1993a). It differs from the similar N. sublineata in its larger, heavier shell, thicker, dark brown periostracum, and (usually) distinct but narrow shoulder below the suture of the last whorl. The head-foot is brightly pigmented in N. hanleyi, but is essentially unpigmented in N. sublineata.


Notopala hanleyi (Frauenfeld, 1864)

Common name: Hanley's River Snail

Class Gastropoda

Subclass Caenogastropoda

Order Architaenioglossa

Superfamily Viviparioidea

Family Viviparidae

Subfamily: Bellamyinae

Genus Notopala Cotton, 1935

Original name: Paludina hanleyi Frauenfeld, 1864. Frauenfeld, G. R. von. (1864). Verzeichniss der Namen der fossilen und lebenden Arten der Gattung Paludina Lam. Nebst. Jenen der nachststenheden und einrechung derselben in der verscheiden neneren Gattungen. Verhandlungen der kaiserlich-königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft Wien 12(2): 14: 561-672 (new name for Paludina intermedia Reeve, 1863).

Type locality: ‘Australia’ (= River Murray, Australia).

Synonyms: Paludina intermedia Reeve, 1863 (preoccupied); Paludina (Vivipara) purpurea Martens, 1865.

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The taxonomy used here for Viviparidae is largely based on unpublished research by W. Ponder.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

Previously lived on muddy sides and bottom of river, often attached to wood and rocks. While once common it is now extinct except in a few irrigation pipes. Although the biology of this subspecies has not been studied, its anatomy shows that it is in part at least 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.


Murray River and its tributary, the Murrumbidgee River; New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.


This species is listed as endangered in New South Wales. It is sometimes incorrectly treated as a subspecies of N. sublineata.

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. (1993a). Shell variation in Australian Notopala (Gastropoda: Prosobranchia: Viviparidae). Journal of the Malacological Society of Australia 14: 59-71.

Sheldon, F. & Walker, K. F. (1993b). Pipelines as a refuge for freshwater snails. Regulated Rivers: Research & Management 8: 295-299.

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.Beesley, P. L., Ross, G. J. B. and Wells, A. (Eds). 1998. Mollusca: The Southern Synthesis. Fauna of Australia. Vol. 5. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne. Part A. Pp. i-xvi,1-563, Part B i-viii, 565-1234.

Walker, K. F. (1996). The river snail Notopala hanleyi: an endangered pest. Xanthopus (Nature Conservation Society of South Australia Newsletter) 14: 1-5.