Freshwater mussel distributions are heavily reliant upon the range and movement of host fishes and are subject to range restrictions when fish migration is blocked. The Columbia Dam on the Broad River in Columbia, SC, has been a barrier to the migration of anadromous species and other fish in the river since 1824. As a result, 5 freshwater mussel species are restricted to reaches of the river downstream of the dam. In 2006, a fish passage was created to facilitate fish movement between stream reaches above and below the dam. Fish hosts that use the passage could facilitate the recolonization of reaches above the dam by freshwater mussels. We conducted laboratory trials to determine the fish hosts of 4 of the species limited to reaches below the dam. The most suitable hosts for Lampsilis cariosa (Yellow Lampmussel) were Morone chrysops (White Bass), Morone saxatilis (Striped Bass), and Pomoxis nigromaculatus (Black Crappie), whereas Micropterus salmoides (Largemouth Bass) and Micropterus dolomieu (Smallmouth Bass) transformed fewer juvenile mussels. Lampsilis siliquoidea (Fatmucket) hosts were Largemouth Bass and Perca flavescens (Yellow Perch). Yellow Perch, Largemouth Bass, Lepomis macrochirus (Bluegill), and Lepomis gibossus (Pumpkinseed) were the best hosts for Ligumia nasuta (Eastern Pondmussel). We suspected that Elliptio roanokensis (Roanoke Slabshell) used anadromous fishes as hosts because its distribution is limited to mainstem rivers below the downstreammost dam. We confirmed that 2 Clupeidae, Dorosoma cepedianum (Gizzard Shad) and Alosa aestivalis (Blueback Herring), and 1 Moronidae, Morone americana (White Perch), are hosts for Roanoke Slabshell. Many of the host-fish species identified in this study are highly mobile, and we expect the range of these mussels to eventually expand upstream of the Columbia Dam as fish make use of the new passage.
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Vol. 14 • No. 1