Australian Biological Resources Study

Species Bank Home

Nodilittorina praetermissa (Family Littorinidae)

Checkered Australwink


It ranges from southern New South Wales, through central and western Victoria, around Tasmania, extending to east of Kangaroo Island, South Australia (NSW, VIC, TAS, SA).


The Checkered Australwink's shell is solid and globe-shaped. It grows to 11 mm across the shell and grows to 10-16 mm long. Its low spire is sharp, but its height is less than the shell height, being only one-third the length of the shell. The 4-5 whorls are rounded. The sculpture consists of 15-17 faint spiral striations on the body whorl and 7-11 on the spire whorls. The body-whorl is faintly keeled in the anterior third. The shell surface is uneven and bumpy. There is a crescent-moon shaped callus beside the columella. The aperture is oval in outline. The dark brown operculum covering is semi-circular, horny, oval and thin.

The shell of the Checkered Australwink is dull greyish-white in colour, with feint brownish zigzag stripes. There is a narrower white stripe at the shell base than found in the Blue Australwink. The interior of the shell opening is reddish-brown, with white markings at the base. The columella is yellowish to white.

Ecology/Way of Life:

The Checkered Australwink occurs at and above high tide levels on exposed rocks and rock faces. It feeds by scraping algae off rock surfaces. In Victoria, the Wine-mouth Lepsiella, Lepsiella vinosa, preys on these snails. Along Victorian shores, if found together in the splash fringe, the Blue Australwink, Nodilittorina unifasciata will usually occur higher on the shore, while the smaller Checkered Australwink lives just below.

The Checkered Australwink breeds only during the colder months of the year. The small juveniles are black and globe-shaped. They occur, often clustered together at low tide levels, but as they become adults they migrate to higher shore levels. As they grow larger and move up the shore, they appear to become more solitary.

The brownish Checkered Australwink is more globe-shaped than the Blue Australwink, Nodilittorina unifasciata, and lacks the characteristic bluish tint of that species.

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

Nicknamed the "neglected" littorine by Rosewater, he said that because of its narrow range being confined to Victoria, Tasmania and part of South Australia, "it is not surprising that it escaped attention until named by May (in 1908)" (Rosewater, p. 307). Rosewater considered that this species related more closely to the tropical Indo-Pacific species than is the Blue Australwink, N. unifasciata.

Further Reading:

Bennett, I. (1987). W.J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores. p. 280, Angus & Robertson.

Davey, K. (1988). A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.100, New Holland Press.

Edgar, G.J. (1997). Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p.245, Reed.

Macpherson, J.H. & Gabriel, C.J. (1962). Marine Molluscs of Victoria. p.87, Melbourne Univ. Press.

Marine Research Group of Victoria. (1984). Coastal Invertebrates of Victoria: an atlas of selected species. p. 45, Museum of Victoria.

Rosewater, J. (1970) The Family Littorinidae in the Indo-Pacific. Pt. 1: The sub-family Littorininae. Indo-Pacific Mollusca, 2(11) Nov. p. 307-8.

Shepherd, S.A. & Thomas, I.M. (1989). Marine Invertebrates of Southern Australia. pt. II. p.564, South Aust. Govt. Press.

Wilson, B.R. & Gillett, K. (1971). A Field Guide to Australian Shells: Prosobranch Gastropods. p.52, A.H. & A.W. Reed.


Resources by Keith Davey.

Sponsorship welcomed:

Please Contact ABRS if you wish to discuss sponsoring this or other pages.


Distribution Map

Attached Images

Return to Species Bank home



   Links to another web site
   Opens a pop-up window