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Nodilittorina australis (Family Littorinidae)

Western Noddiwink


The Western Noddiwink has a south-western Australian distribution and ranges from Esperance to the northern Kimberley (WA).


The Western Noddiwink has a globe-shaped, spiral shell with a high pointed spire and a rough, granular exterior. It grows to 18-20mm long. It is distinguished by its sculpture of fine spiral striations that run around the whorls and its low longitudinal folds. It can be distinguished from other littorinids from southern Australia by the fine ridges that run around the whorls and its pointed spire (Edgar). Its spire sculpture is granular, but never forms nodules. The spire is less than half the length of the shell. The shell base is hardly flattened and the shell does not have a keel at the junction between the sides and the base, as does its relation, the Noduled Littorina, N. nodosa. The aperture lip of the Western Noddiwink is thickened. The aperture is roundly oval.

It is a light yellow-grey base colour with white transverse bands and a brownish-yellow or bluish tinge. The aperture is light yellowish tan to light violet. The shell interior and columella are light violet to tan.

Ecology/Way of Life:

The Western Noddiwink occurs on exposed rocky shores, at high levels and below. This is a common species, but it tends to be solitary, rather than be gregarious like other related species. It is an algal feeder. This species is though to hybridise with Nodilittorina nodosa (Rosewater, 1970).

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

Although its distribution is restricted to south-western Australia, it is common throughout its range and therefore does not appear to be under threat from human activity.

Other Comments:

Nodilittorina australis, Gray, 1826. Nodi is a Latin word that is the plural of nodus, meaning swellings, knobs or lumps. Littorina comes from the Latin word littoralis or litoris meaning shore. Australis and Auster are Latin words meaning the south wind.

Further Reading:

Bennett, I. (1987). W. J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores: a guide to the temperate shores for the beach-lover, the naturalist, the shore-fisherman and the student. p.280, Angus & Robertson.

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.101, New Holland Press, Sydney.

Edgar, G.J. (1997). Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p. 246, Reed.

Rosewater, J. (1970). The Family Littorinidae in the Indo-Pacific: Part I. The Subfamily Littorinidae. Indo-Pacific Mollusca. V.2(11), Nov. 30, 1970. Pp. 05-261.

Wells, F.E. & Bryce, C.W. (1988). Seashells of Western Australia. p.50, Western Australian Museum.

Wilson, B.R. & Gillett, K. (1979). A Field Guide to Australian Shells: Prosobranch Gastropods. p.52, Reed.


Text, map & photograph by Keith Davey.

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