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Notopala sublineata sublineata (Conrad, 1850)

Diagnostic features

This subspecies differs from the similar N.  hanleyi in its smaller, lighter, thinner shell, which has a thin, yellow periostracum. The shell also lacks the shoulder below the suture of the last whorl that is usually seen in N. hanleyi. A subspecies, N. sublineata alisoni, occurs in northern drainages in western Queensland and northern South Australia. The head-foot is brightly pigmented in N. hanleyi, but is essentially unpigmented in N. sublineata.


Notopala sublineata sublineata (Conrad, 1850)

Common name: Darling River Snail; Northern NSW River Snail

Class Gastropoda

Subclass Caenogastropoda

Order Architaenioglossa

Superfamily Viviparioidea

Family Viviparidae

Subfamily: Bellamyinae

Genus Notopala Cotton, 1935

Original name: Paludina sublineata Conrad, 1850. Conrad, R. A. (1850). Descriptions of new species of freshwater shells Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 5:10-11.

Type locality: Darling River, New South Wales.

Synonyms: Paludina polita Martens, 1865; Notopala gatliffi Cotton, 1935.

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The taxonomy used here for Viviparidae is largely based on unpublished research by W. Ponder.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 the muddy sides and bottom of the river, often attached to wood and rocks; previously common but now extinct except in a few irrigation pipes. Although the biology of this subspecies 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.

Additional information on the biology and ecology of members of this family can be found in Fauna of Australia, vol. 5B, p. 706-707.


Darling River and its major tributaries, New South Wales. It was once common and now appears to be extinct in the river, living only in some irrigation pipelines.

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.