Pleuronaia gibberum - (I. Lea, 1838)
Cumberland Pigtoe
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Pleurobema gibberum (I. Lea, 1838) (TSN 80127)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.117603
Element Code: IMBIV35150
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Mollusks - Freshwater Mussels
Image 12008

Public Domain

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mollusca Bivalvia Unionoida Unionidae Pleuronaia
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 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 gibberum
Taxonomic Comments: Based on DNA analyses, Unio subplana Conrad, 1837, was found to be genetically indistinguishable from Fusconaia masoni (Conrad, 1834) (Bogan et al., unpublished data, in Williams et al., 2008). Since U. subplana is the type species of Lexingtonia, the genus Lexingtonia is considered a junior syonym of Fusconaia (Williams et al., 2008). The next available generic name for barnesiana and dolabelloides is Pleuronaia Frierson, 1927. Pleurobema gibberum was also found to belong to the Pleuronaia clade (see Williams et al., 2008).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 05May2007
Global Status Last Changed: 03Oct1997
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This species is restricted to five known populations that face multiple ongoing threats including habitat degradation and loss, pollution, and sedimentation. All are small, with questionable viability, and restricted to short stream reaches that are geographically isolated from one another thereby impeding genetic exchange.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (13Oct1997)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Tennessee (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (07May1991)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast
IUCN Red List Category: CR - Critically endangered
American Fisheries Society Status: Endangered (01Jan1993)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: <100 square km (less than about 40 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: This species is endemic to the Caney Fork River system in Tennessee. It may have once been widespread in the system. It now occurs in isolated sections of five tributaries: the Barren Fork, Calfkiller River, Cane Creek, Hickory Creek, and the Collins River (USFWS, 1991; Parmalee and Bogan, 1998).

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

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: Five populations are known that are separated by impoundments and unsuitable habitat (USFWS, 1991) including Cane Creek, Van Buren Co.; Big Hickory Creek, Warren Co.; Calfkiller River, White Co.; Collins River, Grundy Co.; and possibly Bradley Creek, Coffee Co. (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998).

Population Size: Unknown

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: None to very few (0-3)
Viability/Integrity Comments: All populations are small and restricted to very short reaches. Viability of all populations is questionable at best (USFWS, 1991).

Overall Threat Impact: High
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threats include impoundments and deterioration of water quality due to siltation by coal mining, poor land use practices, and other pollutants. The five extant populations are impacted by impoundments and the general deterioration of water quality resulting from domestic and industrial waste outfalls. Nonpoint pollution sources have limited the distribution of mussels, including the Cumberland pigtoe, in the Caney Fork system. Runoff from surface and deep coal mining operations affects areas of the Collins River, Caney Fork River, Rocky River, and their headwater tributaries. Poor agricultural practices have resulted in soil loss and nutrient enrichment that impact scattered stream reaches throughout the species' range. Construction of bridges, roads, and buildings without adequate siltation control has reduced habitat in sections of the Calfkiller and Collins Rivers. Recent gravel removal operations have destroyed habitat and increased siltation in the upper Caney Fork River and some tributaries. The lower Hickory Creek population appears to have been lost due to nutrient enrichment and siltation resulting from domestic animal waste and physical habitat alteration caused by allowing animals free access to the stream (USFWS, 1991).

Short-term Trend: Decline of >70%
Short-term Trend Comments: This species was formerly widespread in the Caney Fork system, but now occurs only in short reaches of five tributaries. Occurrences are fragmented and separated by unsuitable habitat or impoundment. The species once occurred in the main stem of the Caney Fork River, and it was historically collected from Hickory Creek and the Collins River. Anderson (1990) surveyed both areas and only found the species in the Collins River, but a population was located in 1992 in the upper portion of Hickory Creek above the area searched by Anderson (1990). The species is now believed extirpated from the Caney Fork River and lower Hickory Creek (USFWS, 1991).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 70-90%
Long-term Trend Comments: This species was formerly widespread in the Caney Fork system, but now occurs only in short reaches of five tributaries. Prior to the construction of Rock Island Reservoir in the 1910's typical habitat for this species was more common and the species was likely much more widely distributed within the Caney Fork system than available records indicate (USFWS, 1991).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Populations sizes are small and in short reaches which are physically isolated from each other by impoundments and unsuitable habitat, recolonization of any extirpated population would be unlikely without human intervention. Natural gene flow is impeded severly and genetic viability of the the remaining populations is questionable (USFWS, 1991).

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements scarce.
Environmental Specificity Comments: This species inhabits small to medium rivers in riffle areas with sand and gravel substrates and relatively shallow depths (Gordon and Layzer, 1989). Individuals collected by Layzer et al. (2003) were almost always observed completely embedded in the streambed with the posterior margins of theeir shells flush with the substrate surface. Most were found in sand, a few in a mixture of sand, gravel, and small cobble.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (<100 square km (less than about 40 square miles)) This species is endemic to the Caney Fork River system in Tennessee. It may have once been widespread in the system. It now occurs in isolated sections of five tributaries: the Barren Fork, Calfkiller River, Cane Creek, Hickory Creek, and the Collins River (USFWS, 1991; Parmalee and Bogan, 1998).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single state or province

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States TN

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
TN Coffee (47031), Grundy (47061), Rutherford (47149), Van Buren (47175), Warren (47177), White (47185)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
05 Collins (05130107)+, Caney (05130108)+, Stones (05130203)+
06 Upper Elk (06030003)+
+ 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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Basic Description: A small (< 6 cm) freshwater mussel. Adults have a dark mahogany colored shell.
Reproduction Comments: This species releases all conglutinates (composed primarily of unfertilized eggs; an adaptive strategy) by early to mid August each year (short-term brooders). It is gravid in late June through August. Fish hosts include telescope shiners (Notropis telescopus)and striped shiners (Luxilus chrysocephales) as marginal hosts (only 1 of 19 metamorphosed) (Layzer et al., 2003).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, MEDIUM RIVER, Riffle
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: This species inhabits small to medium rivers in riffle areas with sand and gravel substrates and relatively shallow depths (Gordon and Layzer, 1989). Individuals collected by Layzer et al. (2003) were almost always observed completely embedded in the streambed with the posterior margins of theeir shells flush with the substrate surface. Most were found in sand, a few in a mixture of sand, gravel, and small cobble.
Length: 5.4 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: This species was listed as federally endangered in 1991 (USFWS, 1991) and a recovery plan (USFWS, 1991) created with the following recovery objectives: (1) preserve the existing populations of the species in the Collins River, Calfkiller River, Barren Fork, and Cane Creek, (2) work with Federal, State, and local government entities and with local businesses and individuals to preserve present populations and occupied habitat, (3) search for additional populations and/or habitat suitable for reintroduction efforts, (4) determine, through research, the feasibility of augmenting extant populations and reestabblishing the Cumberland pigtoe mussel into historic habitat and reintroduce where feasible, (5) develop and implement cryogenic techniques to preserve the species' genetic material until such time as conditions are suitable for reintroduction, (6) develop and implement a program to monitor population levels and habitat conditions of presently established populations as well as newly discovered, introduced, or expanding populations, (7) annually assess overall success of the recovery program and recommend action (modify recovery objectives, delist, continue to protect, implement new measures, or other studies, etc.).
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: 05May2007
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cordeiro, J. (2007); Morrison, M. (1997)
Management Information Edition Date: 05May2007
Management Information Edition Author: Cordeiro, J.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 16Aug2006
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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  • Anderson, R.M. 1990. Status survey of the Cumberland pigtoe pearly mussel (Pleurobema gibberum). Tennessee Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, Tennessee Technological University, cookeville, Tennessee unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, asheville, North Carolina. 10 pp.

  • Campbell, D.C., J.M. Serb, J.E. Buhay, K.J. Roe, R.L. Minton, and C. Lydeard. 2005. Phylogeny of North American amblemines (Bivalvia, Unionoida): prodigious polyphyly proves pervasive across genera. Invertebrate Biology, 124(2): 131-164.

  • Gordon, M.E. and J.B. Layzer. 1989. Mussels (Bivalvia: Unionoidea) of the Cumberland River review of life histories and ecological relationships. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Report, 89(15): 1-99.

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

  • Layzer, J.B., B. Adair, S. Saha, and L.M. Woods. 2003. Glochidial hosts and other aspects of the life history of the cumberland pigtoe (Pleurobema gibberum). Southeastern Naturalist, 2(1): 73-84.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Ortmann, A.E. 1917. A new type of the nayad-genus Fusconaia group of F. barnesiana, Lea. The Nautilus, 31: 58-64.

  • Ortmann, A.E. 1918c. The nayades (freshwater mussels) of the Upper Tennessee drainage. With notes on synonymy and distribution. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 57: 521-626.

  • Parmalee, P.W. and A.E. Bogan. 1998. The Freshwater Mussels of Tennessee. University of Tennessee Press: Knoxville, Tennessee. 328 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.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1991. Cumberland pigtoe mussel (Pleurobema gibberum) recovery plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Atlanta, Georgia. 20 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1991. Determination of endangered status for the Cumberland pigtoe mussel. Final rule. Federal Register, 56(88): 21064-21067.

  • 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, and J.T. Garner. 2008. Freshwater Mussels of Alabama & the Mobile Basin in Georgia, Mississippi & Tennessee. University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 908 pp.

  • 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.

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