Registered users receive a variety of benefits including the ability to customize email alerts, create favorite journals list, and save searches.
Please note that a BioOne web account does not automatically grant access to full-text content. An institutional or society member subscription is required to view non-Open Access content.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Freshwater mussel assemblages show predictable variation according to large-scale biogeographic factors and stream-size gradients, but smaller-scale assemblage patterns are less well known. The goal of this study was to classify and delineate mussel assemblages of the Black River, Missouri and Arkansas, USA, along an upstream–downstream gradient and with regard to physiography and biogeographical regions. We analyzed mussel assemblages using nonmetric multidimensional scaling and indicator-species analysis. Our results yielded three assemblage groupings distributed along the upstream–downstream gradient and thereby considered aquatic ecological systems (100–1,000 km2) in a hierarchical spatial classification scheme. These groupings also support previously proposed biogeographical differences for mussels and fishes between the Ozark Highlands and Mississippi Alluvial Plain physiographic regions. Each group was characterized by 2–13 indicator species. Our demonstration of small-scale patterns of mussel assemblage change will be useful for conservation planning and for a better understanding of mussel assemblage dynamics.
Reproductive traits, which can impact population health, are important life-history characteristics for freshwater mussels. Little research has been done on the reproductive ecology of mussels, and crucial information is missing for many threatened and endangered species, especially in Texas. The objective of this study was to examine gamete production, parasitic infection rates, and sex ratios of two freshwater mussel species (Cyclonaias petrina and Cyclonaias pustulosa) in the Llano and San Saba rivers in central Texas. Gamete densities and egg diameters of C. petrina in the Llano River varied seasonally, with peak gamete densities occurring in December and February 2017 and being significantly lower from June through September 2017, while the relative abundance of the largest size classes of eggs was highest in February 2018. Few to no differences were detected in gamete production and egg diameter sizes for C. petrina between rivers. Cyclonaias pustulosa had significantly higher sperm densities and smaller egg diameters compared to C. petrina but exhibited similar egg densities in the San Saba River. There were no significant differences in gamete densities between rivers and no significant correlations between shell length and gamete density. Infection rates of parasitic trematodes varied from <1% to 14%, with the highest infection rates occurring in C. petrina in the San Saba River. Sex ratio of C. petrina was slightly skewed toward females in the Llano River and toward males in the San Saba River, with C. pustulosa having a 1:1 sex ratio in the San Saba River. The high percentage of samples without gametes suggests that the reproductive outputs of Cyclonaias appear to be more limited in the San Saba River due to several potential stressors. Further research will need to investigate the relative importance of the various stressors that affect the reproductive ecology of mussels and their persistence.
The Round Hickorynut, Obovaria subrotunda, is declining throughout its range, but little life history information exists for the species. We examined host use and glochidial size in Buck Creek (Cumberland River drainage) and the Licking River (Ohio River drainage), Kentucky, and we examined age and growth in Buck Creek. Glochidia of O. subrotunda from Buck Creek metamorphosed on five darter species (Percidae)—Etheostoma baileyi, Etheostoma blennioides, Etheostoma gore, Etheostoma variatum, and Percina stictogaster—but not on 43 other fish species from nine families; host use was broadly similar to previous studies in the Duck River, Tennessee, and Lake St. Clair, Ontario. Glochidia from the Licking River metamorphosed only on Eastern Sand Darters (Ammocrypta pellucida) and not on 11 other darter species, including two that produced juveniles in the Buck Creek trial. Glochidial metamorphosis was higher on A. pellucida than on any other species, suggesting that sand darters are primary hosts for O. subrotunda, but sand darters do not occur in several streams occupied by O. subrotunda. Such major differences in host use may indicate phylogenetic divergence between these populations. Glochidial size differed significantly between the Buck Creek and Licking River populations, suggesting that it may have taxonomic value also. Obovaria subrotunda was relatively short-lived (13 yr) and fast-growing (K = 0.22), and age-at-maturity was estimated at 2–3 yr. Males and females had similar growth rates, but males were substantially larger (L∞: males = 53.7 mm; females = 39.2 mm). Life-history data support categorizing O. subrotunda as a periodic life-history strategist, and this view provides benchmarks for assessing population health and responses to watershed conditions.
North America is home to the greatest share of the world's freshwater mussel diversity; however, more than 70% of its ∼300 species are endangered or threatened. Lampsilis powellii, the Arkansas Fatmucket, is endemic to Arkansas and is now restricted to upstream reaches of the Ouachita and Saline rivers, but the species is declining within this small range. Conservation actions such as augmenting or reintroducing populations may be necessary, but they require knowledge of the distribution of genetic variation within and among extant populations. We analyzed population structure between the South Fork Ouachita River and Saline River using a 607-base-pair region of the mitochondrial COI gene and 14 microsatellites designed for Lampsilis abrupta. COI sequences showed little variation, and the most common haplotype was present in both rivers. Our mtDNA sequences were indistinguishable from those of L. siliquoidea deposited on GenBank, but we were unable to make conclusions about the taxonomic distinctiveness of L. powellii. Microsatellites showed heterozygote deficiencies for most loci and revealed little evidence of population structure between the two rivers. Overall, our results show low genetic diversity in L. powellii, which may reflect its small population size due to its long history of geographic isolation compounded by anthropogenic habitat destruction and fragmentation. Further genetic analyses of lampsiline taxa are needed to establish species limits for Lampsilis in the Interior Highlands.
The study of spring- and subterranean-associated microsnail species in the Appalachian karst region has focused disproportionately on the northern Appalachian Valley and Ridge (AVR), leaving many areas in the southern Appalachians unexplored. Consequently, biological inventories of subterranean habitats have been initiated in the southern AVR, particularly in the state of Tennessee. In 2013 and 2018, several previously unknown populations of a microsnail species were discovered from caves in eastern Tennessee. Through both morphological and molecular analysis, we identified these populations as the Blue Ridge Springsnail, Fontigens orolibas. These newly discovered populations represent a significant range extension of F. orolibas. As such, we reassess the conservation status of F. orolibas under NatureServe criteria and emphasize the need for further sampling efforts in the southern AVR for microsnails.