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Tatea rufilabris (Adams, 1862)

Diagnostic features

There are two species of Tatea, both have elongate shells and the adults have a thickened aperture and the operculum bears several pegs. T. rufilabris has a narrower shell than T. huonensis, the spire has a concave outline and the last whorl is more angulate at the periphery.


Tatea rufilabris (Adams, 1862)

Class Gastropoda

Subclass Caenogastropoda

Order Littorinimorpha 

Superfamily Truncatelloidea

Family Tateidae

Genus Tatea Tenison-Woods, 1879

Original name: Alaba (Diala) rufilabris Adams, 1862. Adams, A. (1862). On the animal and affinities of the animal Alaba, with a review of the known species. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, (3)10, 293 - 299.

Type locality: Port Lincoln, South Australia.

Synonyms: Tatea kesteveni Iredale, 1943.

Biology and ecology

On algae and other plants, in leaf litter, under logs, rocks, etc. amongst mangroves and in salt marsh and along river banks in estuaries and coastal lagoons. Often abundant. Assumed to feed on microalgae and bacteria. Solitary, sand-covered hemispherical capsules with single egg. Development includes a short planktotrophic phase.

Additional information on the biology and ecology of members of this family can be found in Fauna of Australia, vol. 5B, p. 752-755.


From southern Queensland to southern Western Australia and Tasmania.


Tatea differs from other tateids in having the following combination of characters: a protoconch of two whorls consisting of protoconch I and II (not about 1.3-1.7 whorls with no protoconch 11), a black pigment ring around the distal end of the cephalic tentacles, and the female genital opening located beneath the middle of the capsule gland. It differs from nearly all in having more massive opercular pegs and a thicker operculum. In addition, Tatea has several small ciliated folds on the left cephalic tentacle, a feature that is absent in related freshwater taxa.

Further reading

Ponder, W. F., Colgan, D. J. & Clark, G. A. (1991). The morphology, taxonomy and genetic structure of Tatea (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Hydrobiidae), estuarine snails from temperate Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology 39: 447-497.

Ponder, W. F., Clark, S. A. & Dallwitz, M. J. (2000). Freshwater and estuarine molluscs: an interactive, illustrated key for New South Wales. Melbourne, CSIRO Publishing.

Robinson, K. & Gibbs, P. (1982). A field guide to the common shelled molluscs of New South Wales estuaries. Sydney, Coast and Wetlands Society.