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Family  Assimineidae





Assimineids are small, globose snails that occur worldwide in temperate and tropical areas, within marine, estuarine and freshwater zones. They are often common but inconspicuous members of the upper littoral, at the backs of mangroves and in saltmarshes. The greatest number of named species occurs in Japan, but the family is well represented in Australia with 20 species named so far.

Assiminieds are probably detritus feeders, feeding on the organic matter in the sediments in which they live. In NSW, the most common species live in estuaries from high to low salinity, particularly at the back of mangroves, where they are found under wood, leaves and other debris, and on the surface of the sediment.

The taxonomy of Australian assimineids was poorly known until 2003 when Fukuda and Ponder commenced publication of a series of papers on the family. Until then the species had been poorly delineated and taxonomy was confused. The name of the most common species Assiminea buccinoides had been inappropriately applied to a hydrobiid for most of the 20th century, creating confusion throughout the literature. Within that taxon Fukuda & Ponder (2005), working with anatomical, radula and operculum characters, recognised seven species, five of them new, and distributed them to new genera.

Family References

Fukuda, H. & Ponder, W.F. 2005. A revision of the Australian taxa previously attributed to Assiminea buccinoides (Quoy & Gaimard) and Assiminea tasmanica Tenison-Woods (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Caenogastropoda: Assimineidae). Invertebrate Systematics 19: 325-360


In addition to the two species detailed here, there are two further species, which are barely marine, recorded from NSW:

Conassiminea studderti Fukuda & Ponder, 2006 NSW from Batemans Bay to Eden, and Tasmania. Lives under wood and bark in the supratidal zone. in the back of mangroves. Taiwanassiminea affinis (Böttger, 1887) Queensland, NSW as far south as Sydney, in the upper regions of estuaries.


Copyright Des Beechey 2014