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Freshwater Mussels of Florida

James D. Williams, Robert S. Butler, Gary L. Warren, and Nathan A. Johnson

Publication Year: 2014

An exhaustive guide to all aspects of the freshwater mussel fauna in Florida, Freshwater Mussels of Florida covers the ecology, biology, distribution, and conservation of the many species of bivalve mollusks in the Sunshine State. In the past three decades, researchers, the public, businesses that depend on wildlife, and policy makers have given more attention to the threatened natural diversity of the Southeast, including freshwater mussels. This compendium meets the increasingly urgent need to catalog this imperiled group of aquatic organisms in the United States.
Each entry in this definitive guide provides a detailed description and multiple depictions of the species as well as select characteristics of its soft anatomy and miscellaneous notes of interest. Individual distribution maps pinpoint the historical and present occurrence of each bivalve species and are just one component of the rich set of 307 mussel and habitat photographs, seventy-four maps, and thirteen tables that illustrate the book. Of particular interest are remarkable electron micrographs of glochidia, the specialized larval life history stage parasitic upon fishes.
Freshwater Mussels of Florida will be of lasting value to state and federal conservation agencies as well as other government and nongovernment entities that manage aquatic resources in Florida. The research provides a key baseline for future study of Florida mussels. The survey results in this guide, along with extensive reviews of historical mussel collections in natural history museums, provide a complete picture of the Florida mussel fauna, past and present. 

Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Just a half century ago, there were fewer than a dozen individuals in the United States actively conducting research on freshwater mussels. With passage of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, interest in the plight of mussels and other nongame aquatic organisms in the United States began to build. It was soon realized that as...

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pp. xi-xvi

Preparation of this document during the past five years has required the support and assistance from individuals, universities, museum institutions, and federal and state agencies. We would like to express our appreciation to those individuals who have contributed to the completion of this project. We sincerely apologize if we have inadvertently...

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pp. xvii-xviii

The following abbreviations are used in the text for state and federal agencies, museum institutions, and nongovernmental organizations, as well as standard technical terms and measurements...

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List of Bivalve Mollusk Taxa

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pp. xix-xxvi

The following list includes generic names, binomials, authors, and dates of bivalve mollusks used herein with the exception of those in the synonymy sections of species accounts. Authors and dates are not included in the text except with the heading and type species of the generic accounts and the heading and synonymy section of each species...

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Chapter 1. Introduction

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pp. 1-4

Freshwater mussels known to occur in Florida’s inland waters belong to the family Unionidae (class Bivalvia), which is widespread in North America and also occurs in most of Africa, Asia, and Europe. The family is represented by about 365 species and 61 genera in North America (Williams et al. in review). The Florida mussel fauna, 60 species...

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Chapter 2. History of Mussel Exploration

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pp. 5-22

Interest in Florida’s natural history began early in the 1700s, but more than a century passed before the mussel fauna attracted attention. The first publication involving a Florida mussel was the description of Unio blandingianus (= Uniomerus carolinianus) (Figure 2.1) based on a single shell reportedly given to William Blanding, a physician

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Chapter 3. Geology and Physiographic Divisions

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pp. 23-33

The landscape that characterizes Florida, and to a large extent influences the composition and distribution of biological communities in the state’s freshwater ecosystems, is the product of geological and climatological processes that began hundreds of million years ago. These processes continue to shape Florida’s topography today...

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Chapter 4. Inland Waters

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pp. 34-58

Over 1,700 streams and 7,800 lakes are distributed across the Florida landscape. These water bodies account for approximately 18.5 percent of the total surface area of the state. Florida has 170,340 km2 of total surface area, 31,480 km2 of which are covered with inland waters, ranking it 22nd among the 50 states in that respect. The

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Chapter 5. Mussel Distribution

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pp. 59-71

The North American freshwater mussel fauna is represented by the families Margaritiferidae, Mycetopodidae, and Unionidae, with approximately 375 mussel species (Williams et al. in review). Unionidae is the largest family with about 365 species occurring from southern Mexico to northern Canada and Alaska. The two remaining families...

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Chapter 6. Biology and Ecology

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pp. 72-93

Unionid mussels are fascinating organisms for scientific study or casual observation. They have intrigued mankind for millennia, primarily due to their ability to form pearls, and have served as a food and tool source throughout human history (de Lozoya and Araujo 2011). Mussels are largely sedentary and spend their lives inconspicuously...

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Chapter 7. Mussel Conservation

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pp. 94-112

The continental United States has the highest diversity of freshwater mussels in the world, with approximately 300 species in two families, Margaritiferidae and Unionidae. The southeastern United States is a mussel biodiversity hot spot harboring 94 percent of the 300 species, including 98 percent of the taxa listed as federally endangered or...

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Chapter 8. Shell Morphology and Soft Anatomy

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pp. 113-124

Freshwater mussels are bivalve mollusks characterized by two calcareous shells that protect the soft-bodied animal within. The shells, or valves, are connected dorsally by a proteinaceous hinge ligament. Mussels vary greatly in shell morphology among and within species. Variation of shell morphology is determined by the interaction of inherited...

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Chapter 9. Format of Accounts for Genera and Species

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pp. 125-130

Accounts are included for all 23 genera of unionid mussels. Genera are arranged in alphabetical order followed by their assigned species. Each account contains the number of species included in the genus, distribution, taxonomic history, and general information...

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Chapter 10. Accounts for Genera and Species

Family Unionidae The family Unionidae is represented by more than 140 genera and 674 species worldwide (Graf and Cummings 2007). In North America there are approximately 365 species and subspecies of freshwater mussels and approximately 300 are known to occur in the United States (Williams et al. in review). Most of the mussel diversity in the...

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Genus Alasmidonta

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pp. 131-137

Twelve species of Alasmidonta are recognized, all from North America (Turgeon et al. 1998). Alasmidonta occurs in the Great Lakes and Mississippi basins, Atlantic Coast rivers from Canada to Georgia, and eastern Gulf Coast rivers in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Two described species of Alasmidonta are known from Florida rivers...

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Genus Amblema

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pp. 138-146

There are three species in Amblema (Turgeon et al. 1998), which is confined to lakes and streams of eastern North America. One species, Amblema plicata, is wide-ranging, occurring throughout the Mississippi and Great Lakes basins and Gulf Coast rivers from the Guadalupe River, Texas, east to Choctawhatchee River, Florida. A second...

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Genus Anodonta

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pp. 147-162

Ten Anodonta species were recognized in the most recent AFS list of mollusk names (Turgeon et al. 1998). One new species, Anodonta hartfieldorum, was recently described from eastern Gulf Coast rivers of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida (Williams et al. 2009). Three additional species—Anodonta couperiana, Anodonta heardi...

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Genus Anodontoides

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pp. 163-167

Turgeon et al. (1998) recognized two species in Anodontoides. A third species, Anodontoides denigrata, was subsequently elevated from synonymy by Cicerello and Schuster (2003) and occurs in the Cumberland River upstream of Cumberland Falls in Kentucky and Tennessee. Anodontoides occurs in Hudson Bay, Great Lakes, Mississippi...

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Genus Elliptio

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pp. 168-220

Elliptio is the largest mussel genus in North America, with 36 species recognized by Turgeon et al. (1998). Four additional species—Elliptio fumata, Elliptio occulta, Elliptio pullata, and Elliptio purpurella—were subsequently recognized (Brim Box and Williams 2000; Williams et al. 2008, 2011). However, in a review of taxa described from...

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Genus Elliptoideus

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pp. 221-226

Elliptoideus is monotypic and found only in the Apalachicola and Ochlockonee River basins. Elliptoideus is the only genus of Unionidae endemic to the Greater Floridan Region. It occurs in Chattahoochee River in Alabama and Georgia, Flint River in Georgia, and Apalachicola and Ochlockonee Rivers in Florida...

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Genus Fusconaia

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pp. 227-236

There were 13 species assigned to Fusconaia by Turgeon et al. (1998). One additional species, Quincuncina burkei, was placed into Fusconaia (Lydeard et al. 2000). Five species have been subsequently moved to other genera—Fusconaia barnesiana into Pleuronaia; Fusconaia succissa into Quadrula; and Fusconaia apalachicola...

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Genus Glebula

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pp. 237-241

Glebula is monotypic (Turgeon et al. 1998). It occurs in Gulf Coast basins from Texas to the Florida panhandle. It is also found sporadically in Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma and historically in the Ohio River (Watters et al. 2009). Glebula rotundata is somewhat unusual in that it typically occurs in the extreme lower reaches of coastal...

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Genus Hamiota

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pp. 242-251

Hamiota was erected for four mussels restricted to eastern Gulf Coast basins from Mobile to Apalachicola. The species—Hamiota altilis, Hamiota australis, Hamiota perovalis, and Hamiota subangulata—were previously included in Lampsilis or Villosa. The unifying characteristic distinguishing them from all other unionids is the production...

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Genus Lampsilis

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pp. 252-265

Turgeon et al. (1998) recognized 28 Lampsilis species and 4 subspecies. Subsequently, four species—Lampsilis altilis, Lampsilis australis, Lampsilis perovalis, and Lampsilis subangulata—were moved to Hamiota when that genus was described (Roe and Hartfield 2005). Lampsilis haddletoni was moved to Obovaria by Williams...

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Genus Medionidus

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pp. 266-280

Turgeon et al. (1998) recognized seven species of Medionidus, but one, M. mcglameriae, was placed in the synonymy of Leptodea fragilis by Williams et al. (2008). Medionidus occurs in Cumberland and Tennessee River drainages and eastern Gulf Coast basins from the Mobile to Suwannee...

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Genus Megalonaias

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pp. 281-285

There are currently two recognized species of Megalonaias in North America, M. nervosa and M. nickliniana. Megalonaias nervosa is the more widespread species, occurring in the Mississippi River basin and Gulf Coast basins from northeast Mexico east to the Ochlockonee River in Florida. Fossil records from the Pleistocene extend its...

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Genus Obovaria

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pp. 286-293

Obovaria was recognized as having six species by Turgeon et al. (1998). Lampsilis haddletoni was moved to Obovaria based on its circular shape, shallow umbo cavity, and triangular, divergent, striated pseudocardinal teeth (Williams et al. 2008). Villosa choctawensis was placed in Obovaria based on marsupial morphology of gravid females...

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Genus Plectomerus

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pp. 294-297

Plectomerus is a monotypic genus (Turgeon et al. 1998) and occurs in Gulf Coast rivers from the San Jacinto in eastern Texas to the Escambia in Florida. In the Mississippi River basin, it is found south of the Ohio River in west Tennessee and Kentucky and in Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Its presence in lower Tennessee...

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Genus Pleurobema

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pp. 298-307

Taxonomy of species in Pleurobema has been the subject of change as additional information on genetics, distribution, and biology is published. In Turgeon et al. (1998), 32 species of Pleurobema were recognized as valid. Williams et al. (2008) made considerable changes in the number of recognized species of Pleurobema after extensive comparative...

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Genus Ptychobranchus

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pp. 308-312

Five species were recognized in Ptychobranchus by Turgeon et al. (1998). An additional species, Ptychobranchus foremanianus, from the eastern portion of the Mobile basin was elevated from synonymy by Williams et al. (2008), bringing the total recognized species in the genus to six. Ptychobranchus jonesi was described as a species...

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Genus Pyganodon

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pp. 313-317

Turgeon et al. (1998) included five species in Pyganodon. The genus occurs in Hudson Bay, Great Lakes, and Mississippi River basins; Gulf Coast basins from Mexico to Florida; and Atlantic Coast basins from Newfoundland to Georgia. Only one species, Pyganodon grandis, is currently recognized as naturally occurring in Florida...

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Genus Quadrula

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pp. 318-329

There were 18 species and 2 subspecies recognized in Quadrula by Turgeon et al. (1998). An additional species, Quadrula nobilis, was elevated from synonymy by Howells et al. (1996) but was not included in Turgeon et al. (1998), though it is now widely recognized as a valid species. Quadrula kieneriana was elevated from synonymy and...

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Genus Reginaia

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pp. 330-336

Reginaia was recently described based on a phylogenetic analysis of the genera of the subfamily Ambleminae (Campbell and Lydeard 2012a). They removed three species from Fusconaia and assigned them to Reginaia. Their analysis established the distinctiveness of Reginaia; however, it was not clearly assignable to any recognized tribe...

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Genus Toxolasma

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pp. 337-348

Toxolasma was recognized as having eight species by Turgeon et al. (1998). An additional undescribed species, Toxolasma sp. cf. corvunculus, which occurs in Escambia, Yellow, and Choctawhatchee River basins in Alabama and Florida, was recognized by Williams et al. (2008). Genetic analysis using mtDNA suggests there is another distinct...

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Genus Uniomerus

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pp. 349-359

Three species were recognized in Uniomerus by Turgeon et al. (1998). An additional species, Uniomerus columbensis, was elevated from synonymy based primarily on zoogeographic patterns and preliminary genetic data (Williams et al. 2008). A more comprehensive examination of mitochondrial markers in Uniomerus from southern Atlantic...

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Genus Utterbackia

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pp. 360-372

Turgeon et al. (1998) recognized three species in Utterbackia. Utterbackia imbecillis is the most wide-ranging North American mussel species, occurring in Mississippi and Great Lakes basins, Gulf Coast basins from Mexico to Florida, and Atlantic Coast basins from Delaware to Florida. It has apparently been introduced in some Atlantic...

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Genus Villosa

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pp. 373-394

Turgeon et al. (1998) recognized 18 taxa in Villosa. Two subspecies, Villosa vanuxemensis vanuxemensis and Villosa vanuxemensis umbrans, were elevated to full species by Williams et al. (2008), and Villosa choctawensis was reassigned to Obovaria (Williams et al. 2011). Nephronaias gundlachi in Cuba was reported to be a Villosa (Johnson...

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Chapter 11. Species of Hypothetical Occurrence

There are five mussels that have never been collected in Florida but are known to occur in upstream reaches of rivers that flow into the state. The five species are Margaritifera marrianae of the family Margaritiferidae, and Elliptio nigella, Lampsilis binominata, Lasmigona subviridis, and Pyganodon cataracta of the family Unionidae...

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Margaritifera marrianae

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pp. 395-396

usually moderately thick; with plications, varying in size, typically more pronounced posterioventrally, well-developed plications originating on the posterior ridge radiate ventrally across posterior half of disk, anterior portion of disk typically without sculpture; moderately inflated, width 25%–35% of length; outline elliptical to trapezoidal...

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Elliptio nigella

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pp. 396-397

moderately thin; smooth; moderately inflated, especially along posterior ridge, width 25%–40% of length; outline elliptical to subrhomboidal, greatest height midway between umbo and posterior end; anterior margin rounded; posterior margin broadly rounded to obliquely truncate; dorsal margin convex, with slight dorsal wing...

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Lampsilis binominata

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pp. 397-398

thin; smooth; moderately inflated, width 40%–55% of length; outline oval, occasionally round; anterior margin rounded; posterior margin broadly rounded in females, narrowly rounded in males; dorsal margin convex; ventral margin convex; valves gape anteriorly and posteriorly; females more swollen posteriorly than males...

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Lasmigona subviridis

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pp. 398-399

thin; smooth; moderately compressed, width 35%–45% of length; outline elliptical; anterior margin rounded; posterior margin rounded, may be slightly truncate; dorsal margin straight to slightly convex; ventral margin straight to slightly convex; posterior ridge rounded, may be weakly biangulate posterioventrally; posterior slope...

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Pyganodon cataracta

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pp. 400-401

thin to moderately thick; smooth; inflated, width usually 30%–45% of length; outline oval to elliptical; anterior margin rounded; posterior margin rounded; dorsal margin straight to slightly convex; ventral margin straight to slightly convex; posterior ridge rounded; posterior slope moderately steep dorsally, flat to slightly concave; umbo broad...

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Chapter 12. Additional Bivalves in Inland Waters

Florida inland waters are inhabited by 16 species of bivalve mollusks that are not members of the families Margaritiferidae and Unionidae (Table 12.1). These additional bivalves belong to the Cyrenidae (formerly Corbiculidae), Dreissenidae, Mactridae, and Sphaeriidae, all families in the order Veneroida (Carter et al. 2011). Some members of...

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Family Cyrenidae – Marshclams

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pp. 403-405

The family Cyrenidae (formerly Corbiculidae) is represented by three species within waters of the United States (Turgeon et al. 1998; Mikkelsen and Bieler 2008). Cyrenidae differ anatomically from Unionidae in having true siphons as opposed to incurrent and excurrent apertures (McMahon and Bogan 2001). Two species...

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Family Dreissenidae – Falsemussels

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pp. 405-407

The family Dreissenidae is represented by four species in marine, estuarine, and freshwater environments of the United States (Turgeon et al. 1998). Two species are native, Mytilopsis leucophaeata and Mytilopsis sallei, and two species are introduced, Dreissena polymorpha and Dreissena bugensis. Both native species occur in Florida...

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Family Mactridae – Surfclams

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pp. 408-409

Nine genera and 10 species of the family Mactridae occur in the United States (Turgeon et al. 1998). They are primarily inhabitants of estuarine and marine environments, but Rangia cuneata is occasionally found in freshwater...

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Family Sphaeriidae – Fingernailclams, Peaclams, and Pillclams

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pp. 409-416

The family Sphaeriidae includes small (length usually less than 25 mm), thinshelled bivalves that are widely distributed across North America and occur in a variety of natural and man-made habitats, including wetlands, creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes, roadside ditches, canals, and reservoirs. In the United States and Canada, the family is...

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Key to the Additional Bivalves in Inland Waters

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pp. 416-418

Length to 15 mm; shell rectangular; umbo central to anterior, low, extending slightly above shell margin; dorsal margin slightly to strongly convex; ventral margin broadly rounded, joining anterior and posterior ends with rounded angles; height/length ratio ~0.79; width/length ratio range 0.56–0.68; periostracum dull, striae variable in coarseness...


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pp. 419-432

Literature Cited

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pp. 433-474

General Index

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pp. 475-486

Systematic Index

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pp. 487-498

E-ISBN-13: 9780817387792
E-ISBN-10: 081738779X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817318475
Print-ISBN-10: 081731847X

Page Count: 524
Illustrations: 314
Publication Year: 2014