Pleurobema collina - (Conrad, 1837)
James Spinymussel
Synonym(s): Canthyria collina (Conrad, 1837) ;Fusconaia collina (Conrad, 1837)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Pleurobema collina (Conrad, 1837) (TSN 80093)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.117714
Element Code: IMBIV35080
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Mollusks - Freshwater Mussels
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mollusca Bivalvia Unionoida Unionidae Pleurobema
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: Pleurobema collina
Taxonomic Comments: Davis and Fuller (1981) placed this species in the genus Fusconaia.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 21Aug2006
Global Status Last Changed: 07Oct1997
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: The range has been reduced to a few headwater tributaries in the Roanoke and James River basin (plus a new population in the Dan River) that are threatened by habitat degradation and competition from the Asian clam.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (07Oct1997)

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 North Carolina (S1), Virginia (S1), West Virginia (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (22Aug1988)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R5 - Northeast
IUCN Red List Category: CR - Critically endangered
American Fisheries Society Status: Endangered (01Jan1993)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 100-250 square km (about 40-100 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Based on collection records, this species was endemic to the upper James River drainage (mainstem and tributaries including the Rivanna and North) above Richmond Virginia. Recent records of this species from the Dan River (a Roanoke River tributary) in Stokes Co., North Carolina (Savidge and Wood, 2001) corroborate historic stream capture between the headwaters of the Roanoke and James River systems in the mountains of Virginia (Johnson, 2006). It is currently restricted to a few small headwater tributaries in Virginia (Lipford, 1989) and West Virginia and in a few rivers (Tar River and Dan River) in North Carolina (Boss and Clench, 1967; Hove and Neves, 1991; Bogan, 2002; Savidge and Wood, 2001).

Area of Occupancy: 26-500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: The distribution of this species is defined as occurring in five 'sub-drainages' (Hove and Neves, 1991; 1994), mostly in Virginia but extending slightly into West Virginia mostly in the upper watershed of the James River (Lipford, 1989) as well as the Dan and Mayo River drainages of the Roanoke River basin (Dan River) in North Carolina in Rockingham and Stokes Cos. (LeGrand et al., 2006; Savidge and Wood, 2001) plus the Tar River although originally thought to be in error (Boss and Clench, 1967; Bogan, 2002; Savidge and Wood, 2001; Johnson, 2006). In Virginia, a population was recently discovered (2000) in the Dan River and it was once widely distributed in the James River but is now reduced to about 10-15% of its former range there (VA NHP, pers. comm., 2006).

Population Size: Unknown

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very few (1-3)
Viability/Integrity Comments: All extant populations except Craigs Creek and Johns Creek appear to be small and very restricted (USFWS, 1990).

Overall Threat Impact: High
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Rapid decline in the past few decades is due to siltation, generated by agricultural and forestry activities such as road construction and gravel dredging; invasion of the Asiatic clam as a potential competitor; impoundments on rivers (more than 50 dams on Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers in Tennessee and Kentucky) and subsequent flood control and sedimentation and change in flow regime; pollution of inland waters from municipal, industrial, and agricultural sources (chlor-alkali plants, fly ash, sulfuric acid spills, acid mine drainage, organic wastes, insecticides) with several sewage treatment plants in and around the habitat of this species (USFWS, 1988; 1990).

Short-term Trend: Decline of >70%
Short-term Trend Comments: This species may have experienced approximately a 90% reduction in range with survival documented in only a few creeks and small rivers in the upper James River drainage (USFWS, 1988; 1990).

Long-term Trend: Decline of >70%
Long-term Trend Comments: Although it is likely that the decline of this species began with municipal growth and industrialization of cities and towns in the James River watershed, much of the decline has occurred in the last 20 years. It remained widespread through the mid-1960s but now apepars to be extirpated from approximately 90% of its historic range (USFWS, 1990).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Restricted distribution hinders dispersal capabilities.

Environmental Specificity: Unknown

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Present distribution and status needs to be reassessed including population and habitat surveys especially in rivers other than Craig and Johns Creeks which are fairly well known. Threats to long-term survival need to be identified. Periodic monitoring is always important.

Protection Needs: Protection needs include protection and enhancement of habitat containing populations and establishing or expanding populations within rivers and river corridors which historically contained the species. Populations other than Craig and Johns Creeks need to be supplemented to reach viable size.

Distribution
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Global Range: (100-250 square km (about 40-100 square miles)) Based on collection records, this species was endemic to the upper James River drainage (mainstem and tributaries including the Rivanna and North) above Richmond Virginia. Recent records of this species from the Dan River (a Roanoke River tributary) in Stokes Co., North Carolina (Savidge and Wood, 2001) corroborate historic stream capture between the headwaters of the Roanoke and James River systems in the mountains of Virginia (Johnson, 2006). It is currently restricted to a few small headwater tributaries in Virginia (Lipford, 1989) and West Virginia and in a few rivers (Tar River and Dan River) in North Carolina (Boss and Clench, 1967; Hove and Neves, 1991; Bogan, 2002; Savidge and Wood, 2001).

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 NC, VA, WV

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NC Rockingham (37157)
VA Albemarle (51003), Alleghany (51005), Amherst (51009), Bath (51017), Botetourt (51023), Buckingham (51029), Craig (51045), Fluvanna (51065), Giles (51071)*, Goochland (51075)*, Henry (51089), Highland (51091), Lexington (City) (51678)*, Nelson (51125), Patrick (51141), Powhatan (51145)*, Rockbridge (51163)*
WV Monroe (54063)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Upper James (02080201)+, Maury (02080202)+, Middle James-Buffalo (02080203)+, Rivanna (02080204)+, Middle James-Willis (02080205)+*
03 Middle Roanoke (03010102), Upper Dan (03010103)+, Lower Dan (03010104), Roanoke Rapids (03010106), Lower Roanoke (03010107), Upper Tar (03020101)
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: One of three freshwater mussels where prominent spines can be found on juvenile shells. Adults have a dark brown shell and the spines are typically absent or reduced.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Aside from this species, only two other freshwater spined mussels are known: Elliptio spinosa, a large-shelled and long-spined species known from the Altamaha River system in Georgia, and Elliptio steinstansana, a species with intermediate shell size adn spine length found only in the Tar River in North Carolina (USFWS, 1990).
Reproduction Comments: This species is a short-term brooder that releases glochidia in summer (late May through early August). The following fish hosts are reported in Neves (1991) and Hove and Neves (1991; 1994): the rosyside dace (Clinostomus funduloides), bluehead chub (Nocomis leptocephalus), mountain redbelly dace (Phoxinus oreas), blacknose dace (Rhynichthys atratulus), central stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum), rosefin shiner (Lythrus ardens), satinfin shiner (Cyprinella analostana), and possibly the swallowtail shiner (Notropis procne).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Moderate gradient
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: This species is found in waters with slow to moderate current and relatively hard water on sand and mixed sand and gravel substrates (Boss and Clench, 1967).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: This species was declared federally endangered in the U.S. in 1988 and a recovery plan was drafted (USFWS, 1990).
Biological Research Needs: Definitive negative interactions with the Asiatic clam need to be quantified. Life history details are active and ongoing through the efforts of Mark Hove and others.
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: 10Nov2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cordeiro, J. (2006); Morrison, M. (1997)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 10Nov2006
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
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  • Boss, K.J. and W.J. Clench. 1967. Notes on Pleurobema collina (Conrad) from the James River, Virginia. Occasional Papers on Mollusks, 3(37): 45-52.

  • Clarke, A.H. 1984. Status survey of the James River spiny mussel, Canthyria collina (Conrad), in the James River drainage system. (Contract #4107). Final report to VPI & SU, Office of Sponsored Programs, Blacksburg, Virginia.

  • Clench, W.J. and K.J. Boss. 1967. Fresh water Mollusca from James River, VA, and a new name for Mudalia of authors. The Nautilus, 80(3): 99-102.

  • Davis, G.M. and S.L.H. Fuller. 1981. Genetic relationships among recent Unionacea (Bivalvia) of North America. Malacologia, 20(2): 217-253.

  • Hove, M. and R. Neves. 1991. Distribution and life history of the James Spinymussel. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin, 16(3): 9-10.

  • Hove, M.C. and R.J. Neves. 1994. Life history of the endangered James spinymussel Pleurobema collina (Conrad, 1837) (Mollusca: Unionidae). American Malacological Bulletin, 11(1): 29-40.

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

  • Johnson, R.I. and K.J. Boss. 1984. Fusconaia collina (Conrad), from the James River, Virginia, an additional note. Occasional Papers on Mollusks, 4(63): 319-320.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Lipford, M.L. 1989. The status of freshwater mussels (Unionidae) of Virginia. Sterkiana, 72: 27-31.

  • 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.

  • Neves, R.J. 1991. Mollusks. Pages 251-320 in K. Terwilliger (ed.). Virginia's Endangered Species. Proceedings of a Symposium, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company, Blacksburg, Virginia. 672 pp.

  • Savidge, T.W. and M.G. Wood. 2001. Spiny mussel found in the Dan River (Roanoke River basin), North Carolina. Ellipsaria, 3(1): 15.

  • 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.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1988. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; determination of endangered status for the James Spinymussel. Federal Register 53(141): 27689-27693.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1990. James spiny mussel (Pleurobema collina) recovery plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Newton Corner, Massachusetts. 38 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., 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
  • 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.

  • Johnson, R.I. 2006. Fusconaia (Lexingtonia) collina (Conrad, 1836), no longer an endemic, but a probable example of stream capture. Sporadic Papers on Mollusks, 1: 71.

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