Land snails of the Kimberley

By AG Staff 7 April 2023
Reading Time: 3 Minutes Print this page
Western Australia’s vast Kimberley region is full of surprises. Take a deep dive into the undergrowth with us and discover the little-known world of land snails.

Fifty snail species have been described on the Kimberley’s islands of Boongaree, Bigge and Augustus alone, and it’s likely there are more to be discovered in the region.

It’s this remarkable land snail diversity that has prompted this part of the Kimberley to be placed on the National Heritage List.

This small selection of Kimberley land snails show the ways in which some have spectacularly adapted to their local environment, providing sublime evidence of evolution in action.

Globorhagada wunandarra land snail Related: A Kimberley cornucopia

Discover some of the Kimberley’s land snails:

Globorhagada wunandarra

Globorhagada wunandarra land snail
Globorhagada wunandarra. Illustration credit: Matilda Bishop

This species, described in 2011, is endemic to Boongaree Island. It’s about 2cm in height, uniform almost chestnut brown and nearly globose in shape. The shell surface is covered with dense, very fine pustules.

Globorhagada prudhoensis

Globorhagada prudhoensis land snail
Globorhagada prudhoensis. Illustration credit: Matilda Bishop

Having a uniform yellowish-brown shell, this is one of the larger species in the Kimberley, reaching perhaps up to 5cm in shell height.

Amplirhagada boongareensis

Amplirhagada boongareensis land snail
Amplirhagada boongareensis. Illustration credit: Matilda Bishop

With 80 species in total, the genus Amplirhagada is the most diverse land snail genus in Australia. This species, endemic to Boongaree Island, is one of the largest, and arguably most beautiful, in this genus.

Kimberleymelon tealei

Kimberleymelon tealei land snail
Kimberleymelon tealei. Illustration credit: Matilda Bishop

The shell of this species is similar to that of Globorhagada sp., but its vastly different reproductive anatomy reveals that both taxa are not closely related. Similar shell features may therefore represent convergent adaptation to a similar environment.

Amplirhagada katerana

Amplirhagada katerana land snail
Amplirhagada katerana. Illustration credit: Matilda Bishop

Already discovered in 1981, this species is named after the island it calls home, Katers Island. Its shell may vary in colour somewhat, but is usually dominated by chocolatey brown tones.

Kimberleydiscus fasciatus

Kimberleydiscus fasciatus land snail
Kimberleydiscus fasciatus. Illustration credit: Matilda Bishop

Another endemic to the Kimberley, this species is only distantly related to all others representing its own genus. It’s endemic to Bigge Island and its name refers to its distinctive disc-shaped and spirally striped shell.