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Thiara amarula (Linnaeus, 1758)

Diagnostic features

The large shell with a single row of prominent upward pointing spines on the whorl shoulder, thick black periostracum and decollate spire are characteristic.


Thiara amarula (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common name: Spined Marsh Snail

Class Gastropoda

Subclass Caenogastropoda

Order Cerithiomorpha

Superfamily Cerithioidea

Family Thiaridae

Genus Thiara Bolten,1798

Original name: Helix amarula Linnaeus, 1758. Linnaeus, C. (1758). Systema Naturae, per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Editio decima, reformata.  Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii Tom. 1 824 pp.

Type locality: Asian waters (Asiae fluviis).

Biology and ecology

Burrows in sediment and gravel in cool running freshwater streams in tropical rainforest areas in the reaches above tidal influence. Biology unstudied, but presumably a detritus feeder.  Brood pouch in head; swimming veliger larvae released (Schütt & Glaubrecht, 1999).

Additional information on the biology and ecology of members of this family can be found in Fauna of Australia, vol. 5B, p. 727-729.


Tropical north-eastern Queensland in streams and rivers.  It also occurs from the southern and eastern coasts of Africa to the Malay Archipelago, the Philippines and some Indo-West Pacific Islands including Fiji and Samoa (Schütt & Glaubrecht, 1999).

Further reading

Beesley, P. L., Ross, G. J. B. & Wells, A., Eds. (1998). Mollusca: The Southern Synthesis. Parts A & B. Melbourne, CSIRO Publishing.

Brandt, R. A. M. (1974). The non-marine aquatic Mollusca of Thailand. Archiv Für Molluskenkunde 105: 1-423.

Glaubrecht, M., Brinkmann, N. & Pöppe, J. (2009). Diversity and disparity ‘down under’: systematics, biogeography and reproductive modes of the ‘marsupial’ freshwater Thiaridae (Caenogastropoda, Cerithioidea) in Australia. Zoosystematics and Evolution 85: 199-275.

Iredale, T. (1943). A basic list of the fresh water Mollusca of Australia. Australian Zoologist 10: 188-230.

Maaß, N. & Glaubrecht, M. (2012). Comparing the reproductive biology of three “marsupial”, eu-viviparous gastropods (Cerithioidea, Thiaridae) from drainages of Australia’s monsoonal north. Zoosystematics and Evolution 88: 293–315. 

Schütt, S., & Glaubrecht, M. (1999). Thiara amarula (Linné, 1758) (Caenogastropoda: Thiaridae) in Australia–new evidence on the anatomy of the reproductive system in a viviparous freshwater mollusc.Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg 215: 181-188.

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.