Laevilitorina mariae (Tension-Woods, 1876)
Description: Shell minute, apex blunt, spire straight sided. Whorls rounded, sutures impressed. Spiral and axial sculpture usually absent, but occasionally present as weak spiral threads or dense axial growth lines. Columella smooth, inner lip of aperture reflected over narrow umbilicus; outer lip of aperture thin, simple. Shell translucent or opaque; colour uniformly fawn or brown, sometimes with a light band at base or at top of whorls (Fig. 2); aperture brown, with external white bands showing through when present. Operculum corneous.
Size: Up to 3 mm in length.
Distribution: Endemic to Australia; Forster, NSW, around southern Australia to Perth, WA.
Habitat: Lives on algae intertidally. Common in Victoria and Tasmania, uncommon in NSW.
Comparison: Brown specimens of Afrolittorina acutispira can resemble this species, but are larger, wider, more solid, and usually eroded. It is quite difficult to identify this small species when sorted from shell grit samples, as the shell form is common to a number of other micromolluscan families. However, the large, blunt protoconch and white band assist in recognition.
Remarks: This species is discussed by Rosewater & Ponder (1979), who figure the radula and penis.
Fig. 1: Off Eden, NSW (C.357881)
Fig. 2: Bramble Cove, Bathurst Channel, Tasmania (C.392640)
Copyright Des Beechey 2004