Print Fact Sheet

Notopala suprafasciata (Tryon, 1866)

Diagnostic features

N. kingi suprafasciata is closely related to N. kingi kingi, differing in its larger size and darker coloration. It differs from the other species of Notopala in the Murray-Darling drainage (N. sublineata sublineata and N. hanleyi) in having diffuse bands and a larger, more globose, often polished shell and, unlike those two species, lives in billabongs and ponds rather than in the main river channel. The periostracum if present bears spiral rows of short hairs. Unlike N. sublineata sublineata and N. hanleyi this species still survives in a few natural locations but appears to be extinct over much of its former range.


Notopala suprafasciata (Tryon, 1866)

Common name: Billabong Banded Snail

Class Gastropoda

Subclass Caenogastropoda

Order Architaenioglossa

Superfamily Viviparioidea

Family Viviparidae

Subfamily: Bellamyinae

Genus Notopala Cotton, 1935

Original name: Vivipara suprafasciata Tryon, 1866. Tryon, G. W. (1866). Descriptions of new exotic fresh-water Mollusca. American Journal of Conchology 2: 8-11.

Type locality: Tropical Australia.

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The taxonomy used here for Viviparidae is largely based on unpublished research by W. Ponder.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 billabongs and large ponds, on mud; previously widespread, now almost extinct. Although the biology of this species has not been studied, its anatomy shows that it is 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.


Western New South Wales.


The separate identity of this species has not previously been recognised and was treated as incertae

sedis by Smith (1992). It is the unnamed banded form from the upper reaches of the Murray Darling

recognised by Sheldon and Walker (1993).  

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that are similar to N. essingtonensis, N. tricincta and N. kingi but are thought to be different species (W. Ponder, unpublished studies).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