© 2015 CSIRO. Our understanding of variation in epibiota communities remains incomplete. This study relates such variability to multiple concurrent environmental factors. Specifically we determined the relative importance of salinity, depth, wave exposure, habitat and 'shell type' (shell type combined species, size, morphology and mobility traits) for community structure of sessile epibiota on gastropods in the Swan River Estuary, Australia. We quantified distribution, biofouling patterns, and detailed epibiota community structures on gastropod species in the estuary-the native Nassarius pauperatus and Bedeva paiva and the invasive Batillaria australis. The invasive Batillaria was much more abundant, and more biofouled, than any of the native species, thereby supporting orders of magnitude more epibiota in the estuary. Generalised linear models were used to partition variation in richness and abundance of epibiota among the above listed factors. Of the five factors were only shell type and salinity significant in 9 of 14 models. These results highlight (1) that a single invasive species can alter epibiota communities on a large system-wide scale, (2) an overwhelming importance of shell type and salinity in explaining estuarine epibiota communities, and (3) that additional environmental factors need to be included in future studies to improve predictive models of distribution for epibiota communities.