Print Fact Sheet

Notopala kingi kingi (A. Adams & Angas, 1864)

Diagnostic features

This globose, rather variable species is found commonly in temporary ponds throughout much of Northern Australia. Its thin shell is usually rather pale-coloured, with faint to moderate banding.


Notopala kingi kingi (A. Adams & Angas, 1864)

Common name: King's River Snail

Class Gastropoda

Subclass Caenogastropoda

Order Architaenioglossa

Superfamily Viviparioidea

Family Viviparidae

Subfamily: Bellamyinae

Genus Notopala Cotton, 1935

Original name: Vivipara kingi A. Adams & Angas, 1864. Adams, A. and Angas, G. F. (1864). Descriptions of new species of freshwater shells collected by Mr. F.G.Waterhouse during J.McDonald Stuart’s overland Journey from Adelaide to the north west coast of Australia. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1863: 414-418.

Type locality: King’s Ponds Arnhem Land (as Arnheim’s Land) Northern Territory (the locality Kings Ponds is actually near the Stuart Highway south of Darwin).

Synonym: Vivipara dimidiata Smith, 1882.

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The taxonomy used here for Viviparidae is largely based on unpublished research by W. Ponder.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

Lives in temporary or permanent ponds and billabongs on mud. Buries into mud in the dry season where it aestivates. 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. Juveniles are released simultaneously.


Northern Australia; from eastern Western Australia, through the Northern Territory to western Queensland.


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that are similar to N. essingtonensis, N. tricincta and N. kingi but are thought to be different species (W. Ponder, unpublished studies).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.