Mitchell's rainforest snail - endangered species listing

NSW Scientific Committee - final determination

The Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act, has made a Final Determination to list Thersites mitchellae (Cox, 1864), a large land snail, as an ENDANGERED SPECIES on Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Threatened Species Conservation Act.

The Scientific Committee has found that:

1. Thersites mitchellae is a large land snail that is known from coastal areas of northern NSW.

2. Thersites mitchellae occupies undisturbed moist forest. It is semi-arboreal, and is found under bark on tree trunks and in the base of palm fronds.

3. The species was formerly common in suitable habitat from the Tweed River south to Ballina, but recently has been reduced greatly in distribution and abundance to occupy two remnant, disjunct populations.

4. Four specimens of Thersites mitchellae were obtained from lowland rainforest on Stotts Island, Tweed River between 1977 and 1981, and a further specimen was obtained from wet sclerophyll at Cunbebin Wetland (or Cunbebin Swamp) behind Byron Bay in 1996. No other specimens have been collected in or seen in the last 70 years.

5. The habitat of Thersites mitchellae has been drastically reduced, and is still subject to threatening processes. The species appears also to be very vulnerable to predation from introduced mammals, such as rats, and birds.

6. In view of 3, 4 and 5 (above), the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that Thersites mitchellae meets the criteria under Sections 10(a) and 10(b) of the Threatened Species Conservation Act for listing as an endangered species.

Dr Chris Dickman


Scientific Committee


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Page last updated: 28 February 2011