McMichael and Hiscock (1958)
recognize a total of 29 species in the Australian
region, 27 of them in the family Mutelidae
with eight genera grouped into four subfamilies,
Lortiellinae, Velesunioninae, Hyridellinae, and
Cucumerunioninae. The two remaining species
in genus Haasodonta are assigned to the
family Unionidae. They list three
living and two fossil mutelid species for New
Zealand. His classification is as follows. Numbers
refer to species and additional subspecies in the
Velesunio (5), Microdontia
(1), Alathyria (4 + 2), Westralunio
Subfamily Lortiellinae; Lortiella
Subfamily Hyridellinae; Hyridella
(9 + 1), in four subgenera.
Subfamily Cucumerunioninae; Cucumerunio
(2), Virgus (1).
subfamily Rectidentinae; Haasodonta
Banarescu (1990) places all genera
and species into the Family Hyriidae, with
two subfamilies, Cucumerunioninae
According to McMichael and Hiscock,
the lack of thick-shelled species usable for pearl
buttons in Australia has resulted in less interest
being paid to these animals, and no comprehensive
study by Australians was published before 1932.
Freshwater mussels are common in Australian
archaeological sites, and the accumulation of
"middens" indicates their continued use up
into European times. See for example http://www.atsis.uq.edu.au/qar/1987004096114.pdf and http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:12373. As in the Unionidae, reproduction is by
means of a larval stage known as a glochidium that
temporarily parasitizes fish.