Elliptio producta - (Conrad, 1836)
Atlantic Spike
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Elliptio producta (Conrad, 1836) (TSN 79981)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.112792
Element Code: IMBIV14220
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Mollusks - Freshwater Mussels
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mollusca Bivalvia Unionoida Unionidae Elliptio
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Turgeon, D.D., J.F. Quinn, Jr., A.E. Bogan, E.V. Coan, F.G. Hochberg, W.G. Lyons, P.M. Mikkelsen, R.J. Neves, C.F.E. Roper, G. Rosenberg, B. Roth, A. Scheltema, F.G. Thompson, M. Vecchione, and J.D. Williams. 1998. Common and scientific names of aquatic invertebrates from the United States and Canada: Mollusks. 2nd Edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 26, Bethesda, Maryland: 526 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B98TUR01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Elliptio producta
Taxonomic Comments: The classification of the Atlantic Slope species of Elliptio is currently in a state of confusion. Johnson (1970) lumped many named taxa under a single name. Current research is finding many of these synonomized taxa to be valid species. This research is in progress and will result in the recognition of numerous additional taxa in this genus. Johnson (1970) placed this species in synonymy with Elliptio lanceolata, however Turgeon et al. (1998) list both as distinct species. No agreement has been reached on what this taxon is; needs further study.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3Q
Global Status Last Reviewed: 01Nov2007
Global Status Last Changed: 11Jul2005
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This species is widespread on the Atlantic coast from the Savannah River north to the Potomac River basin in Maryland and Virginia and is considered stable throughout most of its range except the extreme southern portion.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3 (11Jul2005)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Georgia (SNR), Maryland (S2), North Carolina (SU), Pennsylvania (S2), South Carolina (S3)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern
American Fisheries Society Status: Special Concern (01Jan1993)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 5000-20,000 square km (about 2000-8000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: This species is widespread on the Atlantic coast from the Savannah River north to the Potomac River basin in Maryland (although absent from Bogan and Proch, 1995- possibly due to confusion with Elliptio fisheriana) and Virginia (Bogan and Alderman, 2004). Possibly extirpated from Ogeechee River system in Georgia (Sukkestad et al., 2006).

Area of Occupancy: Unknown 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Bogan and Alderman (2004) list this species as widespread in South Carolina ranging from the Savannah River basin and Catawba basin north to the Pee Dee, including the Waccamaw and Cape Fear River basins in North Carolina (Bogan, 2002). Alderman (2006) found it in Lake Murray, its tributaries, and the Congaree River (Santee basin), in South Carolina. Recently found in very low numbers at 7 sites throughout Pee Dee River drainage in South Carolina but in low numbers (maximum 4 individuals per site) (Catena Group, 2006) including the Great Pee Dee, Little Pee Dee, and Lynches Rivers. LeGrand et al. (2006) cites potential occurrences in the Lake Waccamaw area of North Carolina. The MD NHP program lists sites from the Potomac and Patuxent drainages. The species is also known from the James River in Virginia (Burch, 2002). Villella (1995) cites specimens from Culpeper and Prince William Cos., Virginia and the OSUM has specimens from Fairfax Co. Alderman (2006) recorded several sites in the Saluda drainage in South Carolina.

Population Size: 10,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Recently found in very low numbers at 7 sites throughout Pee Dee River drainage in South Carolina but in low numbers (maximum 4 individuals per site) (Catena Group, 2006)

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown
Viability/Integrity Comments: Although widespread, this species is almost always rare to uncommon in numbers when found.

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: It is possibly extirpated from Ogeechee River system in Georgia (Sukkestad et al., 2006) and widespread but in low numbers on the Pee Dee drainage in South Carolina (Catena Group, 2006).

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (5000-20,000 square km (about 2000-8000 square miles)) This species is widespread on the Atlantic coast from the Savannah River north to the Potomac River basin in Maryland (although absent from Bogan and Proch, 1995- possibly due to confusion with Elliptio fisheriana) and Virginia (Bogan and Alderman, 2004). Possibly extirpated from Ogeechee River system in Georgia (Sukkestad et al., 2006).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States GA, MD, NC, PA, SC

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
MD Allegany (24001), Carroll (24013), Frederick (24021), Montgomery (24031), Washington (24043)
PA Fulton (42057)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Patuxent (02060006)+, Cacapon-Town (02070003)+, Conococheague-Opequon (02070004)+, Middle Potomac-Catoctin (02070008)+, Monocacy (02070009)+, Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan (02070010), Rapidan-Upper Rappahannock (02080103), Middle James-Buffalo (02080203), Rivanna (02080204), Middle James-Willis (02080205), Lower James (02080206), Appomattox (02080207)
03 Upper Cape Fear (03030004), Lower Cape Fear (03030005), Northeast Cape Fear (03030007), Upper Pee Dee (03040104), Lower Pee Dee (03040201), Lynches (03040202), Little Pee Dee (03040204), Black (03040205), Waccamaw (03040206), Upper Catawba (03050101), Lower Catawba (03050103), Saluda (03050109), Congaree (03050110), Lake Marion (03050111), Santee (03050112), Cooper (03050201), North Fork Edisto (03050203), South Fork Edisto (03050204), Edisto (03050205), Salkehatchie (03050207), Middle Savannah (03060106), Lower Ogeechee (03060202)*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed (based on multiple information sources) Help
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: The glochidial host is not known.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Freshwater Mussels

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on some evidence of historical or current presence of single or multiple specimens, including live specimens or recently dead shells (i.e., soft tissue still attached and/or nacre still glossy and iridescent without signs of external weathering or staining), at a given location with potentially recurring existence. Weathered shells constitute a historic occurrence. Evidence is derived from reliable published observation or collection data; unpublished, though documented (i.e. government or agency reports, web sites, etc.) observation or collection data; or museum specimen information.
Mapping Guidance: Based on the separation distances outlined herein, for freshwater mussels in STANDING WATER (or backwater areas of flowing water such as oxbows and sloughs), all standing water bodies with either (1) greater than 2 km linear distance of unsuitable habitat between (i.e. lotic connections), or (2) more than 10 km of apparently unoccupied though suitable habitat (including lentic shoreline, linear distance across water bodies, and lentic water bodies with proper lotic connections), are considered separate element occurrences. Only the largest standing water bodies (with 20 km linear shoreline or greater) may have greater than one element occurrence within each. Multiple collection or observation locations in one lake, for example, would only constitute multiple occurrences in the largest lakes, and only then if there was some likelihood that unsurveyed areas between collections did not contain the element.

For freshwater mussels in FLOWING WATER conditions, occurrences are separated by a distance of more than 2 stream km of unsuitable habitat, or a distance of more than 10 stream km of apparently unoccupied though suitable habitat. Standing water between occurrences is considered suitable habitat when calculating separation distance for flowing water mussel species unless dispersal barriers (see Separation Barriers) are in place.

Several mussel species in North America occur in both standing and flowing water (see Specs Notes). Calculation of separation distance and determination of separation barriers for these taxa should take into account the environment in which the element was collected. Juvenile mussels do not follow this pattern and juveniles are typically missed by most standard sampling methods (Hastie and Cosgrove, 2002; Neves and Widlak, 1987), therefore juvenile movement is not considered when calculating separation distance.

Separation Barriers: Separation barriers within standing water bodies are based solely on separation distance (see Separation Distance-suitable, below). Separation barriers between standing water bodies and within flowing water systems include lack of lotic connections, natural barriers such as upland habitat, absence of appropriate species specific fish hosts, water depth greater than 10 meters (Cvancara, 1972; Moyle and Bacon, 1969) or anthropogenic barriers to water flow such as dams or other impoundments and high waterfalls.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: None
Separation Justification: Adult freshwater mussels are largely sedentary spending their entire lives very near to the place where they first successfully settled (Coker et al., 1921; Watters, 1992). Strayer (1999) demonstrated in field trials that mussels in streams occur chiefly in flow refuges, or relatively stable areas that displayed little movement of particles during flood events. Flow refuges conceivably allow relatively immobile mussels to remain in the same general location throughout their entire lives. Movement occurs with the impetus of some stimulus (nearby water disturbance, physical removal from the water such as during collection, exposure conditions during low water, seasonal temperature change or associated diurnal cycles) and during spawning. Movement is confined to either vertical movement burrowing deeper into sediments though rarely completely beneath the surface, or horizontal movement in a distinct path often away from the area of stimulus. Vertical movement is generally seasonal with rapid descent into the sediment in autumn and gradual reappearance at the surface during spring (Amyot and Downing, 1991; 1997). Horizontal movement is generally on the order of a few meters at most and is associated with day length and during times of spawning (Amyot and Downing, 1997). Such locomotion plays little, if any, part in the distribution of freshwater mussels as these limited movements are not dispersal mechanisms. Dispersal patterns are largely speculative but have been attributed to stream size and surface geology (Strayer, 1983; Strayer and Ralley, 1993; van der Schalie, 1938), utilization of flow refuges during flood stages (Strayer, 1999), and patterns of host fish distribution during spawning periods (Haag and Warren, 1998; Watters, 1992). Lee and DeAngelis (1997) modeled the dispersal of freshwater into unoccupied habitats as a traveling wave front with a velocity ranging from 0.87 to 2.47 km/year (depending on mussel life span) with increase in glochidial attachment rate to fish having no effect on wave velocity.

Nearly all mussels require a host or hosts during the parasitic larval portion of their life cycle. Hosts are usually fish, but a few exceptional species utilize amphibians as hosts (Van Snik Gray et al., 2002; Howard, 1915) or may metamorphose without a host (Allen, 1924; Barfield et al., 1998; Lefevre and Curtis, 1911; 1912). Haag and Warren (1998) found that densities of host generalist mussels (using a variety of hosts from many different families) and displaying host specialists (using a small number of hosts usually in the same family but mussel females have behavioral modifications to attract hosts to the gravid female) were independent of the densities of their hosts. Densities of non-displaying host specialist mussels (using a small number of hosts usually in the same family but without host-attracting behavior) were correlated positively with densities of their hosts. Upstream dispersal of host fish for non-displaying host specialist mussels could, theoretically, transport mussel larvae (glochidia) over long distances through unsuitable habitat, but it is unlikely that this occurs very often. D. Strayer (personal communication) suggested a distance of at least 10 km, but a greater distance between occurrences may be necessary to constitute genetic separation of populations. As such, separation distance is based on a set, though arbitrary, distance between two known points of occurrence.

Date: 18Oct2004
Author: Cordeiro, J.
Notes: Contact Jay Cordeiro (jay_cordeiro@natureserve.org) for a complete list of freshwater mussel taxa sorted by flow regime.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 01Nov2007
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cordeiro, J.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 08Jun2007
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Cordeiro, J.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Ashton, M. J. 2010. Freshwater mussel records collected by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Monitoring and Non-tidal Assessment Division (1995-2009): Investigating environmental conditions and potential host fish of select species. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis, Maryland. 71 pp. Online. Available: http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/streams/pdfs/AIM_10_01_mussels.pdf

  • Becker, A.J., R. Gauza, and J.A. Smith. 2006. A summary of Freshwater Mussel data collected by the Maryland Biological Stream Survey 1995-2006. MD DNR-MBSS, Annapolis. 28 pp.

  • Bogan, A.E., and T. Proch. 1997. Manual of the freshwater bivalves of Maryland. Printed by Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Programs, Monitoring and Non-tidal Assessment. CBWP-MANTA-EA-96-03. pp. ii, 1-68, 18 maps, 3 color plates.

  • Burch, P.R. 2002. Mollusks. [Reprinted- a preliminary list of the land and freshwater mollusks of the James River Basin, Virginia]. Walkerana, 13(29/30): 113-122.

  • Howard, A.D. 1915. Some exceptional cases of breeding among the Unionidae. The Nautilus 29:4-11.

  • Johnson, R.I. 1970a. The systematics and zoogeography of the Unionidae (Mollusca: Bivalvia) of the southern Atlantic slope region. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University 140(6):263-449.

  • Lefevre, G. and W.T. Curtis. 1912. Studies on the reproduction and artificial propogation of fresh-water mussels. Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries 30:102-201.

  • MACIVOR, L. ET AL. 1995. FRESHWATER MUSSEL SURVEYS OF THE C& O CANAL NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK AND POTOMAC RIVER IN WASHINGTON, FREDERICK, AND MONTGOMERY COUNTIES IN MARYLAND. MARYLAND NATURAL HERITAGE PROGRAM.

  • Moyle, P. and J. Bacon. 1969. Distribution and abundance of molluscs in a fresh water environment. Journal of the Minnesota Academy of Science 35(2/3):82-85.

  • Spoo, A. 2008. The Pearly Mussels of Pennsylvania. Coachwhip Publications: Landisville, Pennsylvania. 210 pp.

  • Strayer, D. 1983. The effects of surface geology and stream size on freshwater mussel (Bivalvia, Unionidae) distribution in southeastern Michigan, U.S.A. Freshwater Biology 13:253-264.

  • Strayer, D.L. 1999a. Use of flow refuges by unionid mussels in rivers. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 18(4):468-476.

  • Strayer, D.L. and J. Ralley. 1993. Microhabitat use by an assemblage of stream-dwelling unionaceans (Bivalvia) including two rare species of Alasmidonta. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 12(3):247-258.

  • Turgeon, D.D., J.F. Quinn, Jr., A.E. Bogan, E.V. Coan, F.G. Hochberg, W.G. Lyons, P.M. Mikkelsen, R.J. Neves, C.F.E. Roper, G. Rosenberg, B. Roth, A. Scheltema, F.G. Thompson, M. Vecchione, and J.D. Williams. 1998. Common and scientific names of aquatic invertebrates from the United States and Canada: Mollusks. 2nd Edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 26, Bethesda, Maryland: 526 pp.

  • Van der Schalie, H. 1938a. The naiad fauna of the Huron River in southeastern Michigan. Miscellaneous Publication of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 40:7-78.

  • Watters, G.T. 1992a. Unionids, fishes, and the species-area curve. Journal of Biogeography 19:481-490.

  • Williams, J. D., A. E. Bogan, R. S. Butler, K. S. Cummings, J. T. Garner, J. L. Harris, N. A. Johnson, and G. T. Watters. 2017. A revised list of the freshwater mussels (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Unionida) of the United States and Canada. Freshwater Mollusk Biology and Conservation 20:33-58.

  • Williams, J.D., M.L. Warren, Jr., K.S. Cummings, J.L. Harris, and R.J. Neves. 1993b. Conservation status of freshwater mussels of the United States and Canada. Fisheries 18(9): 6-22.

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • Alderman, J. 2006. Reconnaissance survey of the freshwater mussel fauna of the Lower Saluda and Congaree Rivers, Lake Murray, and selected tributaries. Report prepared for Kleinschmidt Associates, West Columbia, South Carolina, 31 October 2006. 166 pp.

  • Bogan, A.E. 2002. Workbook and key to the freshwater bivalves of North Carolina. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences: Raleigh, North Carolina. 101 pp.

  • Bogan, A.E. and J.M. Alderman. 2004. Workbook and key to the freshwater bivalves of South Carolina. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences: Raleigh, North Carolina. 64 pp.

  • LeGrand, H.E., Jr., S.P. Hall, S.E. McRae, and J.T. Finnegan. 2006. Natural Heritage Program List of the Rare Animal Species of North Carolina. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh, North Carolina. 104 pp.

  • Sukkestad, K.E., E.P. Keferl, and T.D. Bryce. 2006. Freshwater molluscs of Fort Stewart, Georgia, U.S.A. American Malacological Bulletin, 21(1/2): 31-38.

  • The Catena Group. 2006. Freshwater mussel surveys of the Pee Dee River basin in South Carolina. Unpublished report prepared for the Nature Conservancy- South Carolina Chapter, January 3, 2006. 47 pp.

  • Villella, R. 1995. Leetown Science Center update. Triannual Unionid Report, 7: 3 pp.

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