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Nassarius pauperatus (Lamarck, 1822)

Description: Shell moderately light in weight, inflated. Sculptured with coarse, nodulose axial ribs which become obsolete on dorsal surface of body whorl. Wide spiral ribs override axials. A broad, smooth channel separates the row of ribs at suture from remainder of whorl. Outer lip either smooth or denticulate; columella callus expanded, but not reaching the body whorl suture. Columella with small denticles, sometimes obsolete, and a strong tooth posteriorly. Colour variable; fawn to dark brown, usually with a central brown spiral band on the body whorl. Columella callus and aperture white, often edged with brown.

Size: Up to 20 mm in length.

Distribution: Endemic to Australia; Sydney, NSW, to Houtman Abrolhos, WA, including Tasmania.

Habitat: Marine and estuarine, on tidal sand flats, in rock pools, eel-grass and muddy sand, from low tide to 70 m. Abundant in southern Australia, rare in NSW.

Comparison: This species is very similar to N. nigellus; see that species above for comparison. Small specimens are distinguished from N. burchardi and N. jonasii by the strong spiral grooves which cross the axial ribs, rather than being restricted to the interspaces as in N. burchardi and N. jonasii. The central brown band is another useful feature of separation.

Figs. 1,2: Bermagui, NSW (C.413633)


Copyright Des Beechey 2000