The shelled gastropods of the Solitary Islands Marine Park, northern New South Wales, Australia

2020-04-10T10:37:33Z (GMT) by Stephen D. A. Smith Laura S. Peregrin

Away from the major population centres, the biodiversity of Australia's shallow coastal marine waters is poorly known. The Tweed-Moreton Bioregion, covering northern New South Wales and south-east Queensland, is both a focus of marine conservation (with three marine parks), and research efforts to predict the effects of climate change through species range extensions and shifts in community composition. Here we provide the first comprehensive list of shallow-water (<30 m) shelled, gastropod macro-molluscs (>5 mm) from the Solitary Islands Marine Park, compiled from a range of sources, including field collections over a 30-year period to 2017. The Cypraeidae (50 spp.), Muricidae (47 spp.) and Conidae (32 spp.) were the most speciose families, accounting for 26% of the total inventory of 500 species from 77 families. A total of 143 species are recorded at their southern limit of distribution on Australia's east coast, most being rare, tropically affiliated taxa found at offshore island sites that receive more frequent contact with the southward-flowing East Australian Current. The inventory confirms the high biodiversity of the Solitary Islands region and the importance of ongoing conservation management.