Pleurobema rubrum - (Rafinesque, 1820)
Pyramid Pigtoe
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Pleurobema pyramidatum (I. Lea, 1840) (TSN 80132) ;Pleurobema rubrum (Rafinesque, 1820) (TSN 568106)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.107905
Element Code: IMBIV35250
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 rubrum
Taxonomic Comments: Pleurobema rubrum is a member of the Pleurobema cordatum complex (see comments under P. cordatum . Because of previous synonymies and interpretations of subspecific classifications, museum collections of this species often are mixtures of species and published records and have not always distinguished which member of the P. cordatum complex actually was being considered. This species has also been referred to as Pleurobema pyramidatum . The so-called lectotype designated by Johnson and Baker (1974) is the same species as P. rubrum ; however it does not correlate well with Rafinesques's description of P. pyramidatum . The same applies to the lectotype and description of Obliqu aria (Sc alenaris) obliquata Rafinesque, 1820. It may be that the identifications of these two shells were confused and reversed. The current name Pleurobema rubrum is considered a senior synonym of Unio pyramidatus (Bogan, 1995).(Bogan, 1995).

The members of the genus Pleurobema are among the most difficult to identify in North America. Arguments arise even among taxonomists regarding the "species" represented in the genus Pleurobema. Stansbery (1983) summarized many of the problems and identified a few of the shell characters used to separate Pleurobema sintoxia from the morphologically similar and often co-occurring Pleurobema plenum, Pleurobema cordatum, and Pleurobema rubrum. A few "morphs" have been variously identified and named but no rigorous genetic, anatomic, or conchologic study has ever been published on this group to help elucidate species boundaries or relationships.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 03Jan2010
Global Status Last Changed: 30Jan2007
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This species has experienced some decline and habitat loss although several populations remain, some with significant numbers especially in Arkansas and possibly northern Louisiana. Range is still wide but declines continue and the species is threatened by habitat degradation.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2N3 (30Jan2007)

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 Alabama (S1), Arkansas (S2), Illinois (SX), Indiana (SX), Iowa (SX), Kansas (SNR), Kentucky (S1), Louisiana (S2), Mississippi (S2), Missouri (SNR), Nebraska (SNR), Ohio (S1), Oklahoma (SNR), Pennsylvania (SH), Tennessee (S1S2), Virginia (SH)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: NT - Near threatened
American Fisheries Society Status: Threatened (01Jan1993)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 5000-20,000 square km (about 2000-8000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Historically this species was distributed throughout the Mississippi, Wabash, Tennessee, and Ohio River systems. It appears to never have been common, consisting of less than 4% of those species found in prehistoric middens (Parmalee, 1967; Klippel and Bogan, 1980). Today the species is widely but very sporadically distributed. It has apparently been extirpated from much of its former range. Shimek (1921) reported it from the Mississippi River at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, but it has not been recovered since that time (Havlik and Stansbery, 1977), although Havlik (1983) reported dead shells in the Mississippi River Pool 8 in Wisconsin. Starrett (1971) did not find this species in a survey in 1966 of the Illinois River although it was known to occur there prior to 1900. It was found in the Tuscarawas River of the Muskingum River in Ohio by Hildreth (1828, as Unio undatus Variety B), Dean (1890), Sterki (1894, 1900), and Ortmann (1919) but has not been recently collected there. Williams (1969) and Dames and Moore (1980) recorded it from the Ohio River, in the vicinity of Clermont County, Ohio, but an extensive survey in 1984 did not recover it (Stansbery and Cooney, 1985). It has been extirpated from the Tennessee River in Alabama (Stansbery, 1976). It has been extirpated from the Wabash and East Fork White rivers in Indiana, the Osage River in Missouri, the Beech Fork Salt and Licking Rivers in Kentucky, and the Stones and Holston Rivers in Tennessee. A few small populations in Big Black and Yazoo River drainages on Mississippi (Jones et al., 2005). The species is fairly widespread and can be locally common in Arkansas (often as Pleurobema pyramidatum, with which it has been synonymized- see Johnson and Baker, 1973) in areas such as the Little Missouri, Saline, and Ouachita Rivers (Harris et al., 1997). In Louisiana, Vidrine (1993) listed it (as Pleurobema pyramidatum) from Bayou Bartholomew, the upper Mississippi River, Tensas River, Boeuf River, Ouachita River, and Bayou Dorcheat; all in northern Louisiana into Arkansas.

Area of Occupancy: 501-12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species has been extirpated from much of its historical range but still occurs sporadically over a relatively large area. Most populations are in jeopardy and continue to decline. The best extant populations appear to be in a few sections of the Green River drainage in Kentucky as well as the Little Missouri, White, Ouachita (Posey et al., 1996), and Saline Rivers in Arkansas where it is relatively widely distributed and numerically dominant (Harris et al., 1997; Harris and Gordon, 1987), including the Arkansas River (Arkansas Valley, Boston Mountains), White (Mississippi Alluvial Plain, Ozark Highlands), Ouachita (Bayou Bartholomew, Ouachita Mountains, South Central Plains), St. Francis (Mississippi Valley Loess Plains), and Red River (South Central Plains) (Anderson, 2006). In the Ouachita River below the confluence with the Little Missouri River, it is common and widespread and becomes more abundant downstream from there to below Camden, Arkansas (Posey, 1997). It is uncommon to rare in the St. Francis River system, Arkansas (Ahlstedt and Jenkinson, 1991). Cicerello and Schuster (2003) list Kentucky distribution as sporadic in the Tennessee and Green Rivers. It has been collected in Kentucky in the Middle Green and Barren Rivers (Cochran and Layzer, 1993). In Alabama, it is extant (though uncommon) in the tailwaters of the Guntersville and Wilson Dams on the Tennessee River (Mirarchi et al., 2004; Williams et al., 2008). A few small populations occur in Big Black (Hartfield and Rummel, 1985) and larger numbers occur on the Big Sunflower (Yazoo River) drainages on Mississippi (Jones et al., 2005). In Louisiana, Vidrine (1993) listed it (as P. pyramidatum) from Bayou Bartholomew, the upper Mississippi River, Tensas River, Boeuf River, Ouachita River, and Bayou Dorcheat; all in northern Louisiana into Arkansas. In Tennessee, it may be found locally in stretches of the Clinch, Tennessee, Cumberland (Gordon and Layzer, 1989), Duck and Stones Rivers (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998); including Kentucky Reservoir (Withers, 2009). Ahlstedt et al. (2004) cite populations in the upper Duck River in Tennessee. In Ohio, it is only limited to the lowest reaches of the lower Muskingum River where it is rare (Watters, 1995; Watters et al., 2009). The last known sites in Indiana were the Upper East Fork White and Tippecanoe (Cummings and Berlocher, 1990) drainages, although Fisher (2006) lists it as extirpated from the entire Wabash basin and likely the state (IN NHP, pers. comm., 2009). It was recently found in the Little River, Oklahoma [questionable identification] (Vaughn and Taylor, 1999) and historical in the Kiamichi (Vaughn, 2000) (see Galbraith et al., 2008). Branson (1966) documented it in the Spring and Neosho Rivers in Kansas, but it is unknown whether it still occurs there.

Population Size: 2500 - 100,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: This species is typically rare at most sites; and is only found with any regularity at some sites in the Green River system, Kentucky; as well as the Little Missouri, Ouachita, and Saline Rivers in Arkansas where it is relatively widely distributed and numerically dominant (Harris et al., 1997). Ahlstedt and Jenkinson (1987) found it to be relatively common in the St. Francis River between River miles 71.5 and 84.3. Posey (1997) located it in 44 of 61 aggregations sampled (3445 specimens, 14.7% total species) in the Ouachita River below the confluence with the Little Missouri River; and in 23 aggregations sampled (27.0% total species) from the confluence with the Little Missouri River downstram 50 river miles. Similarly, Ahlstedt and Jenkinson (1991) found 78 specimens in the St. Francis River drainage, Arkansas, which represented 0.6% of total riverine species at 12 sites.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few (4-12)
Viability/Integrity Comments: The best extant populations appear to be in a few sections of the Green River drainage in Kentucky as well as the Little Missouri, White, Ouachita, and Saline Rivers in Arkansas where it is relatively widely distributed and numerically dominant (Harris et al., 1997; Harris and Gordon, 1987; Cicerello and Schuster, 2003). It is extremely abundant in the lower Ouachita and lower Saline while Upper Ouachita and upper Saline rivers populations are peripheral (Anderson, 2006). Some northern Lousiana populations may also have good viability (Vidrine, 1993).

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: This species has been impacted by existing and proposed channel alteration and inundation, siltation, and mine run-off, various sources of pollution, and urban and industrial development. Impoundment by the Norris Reservoir of the Clinch River in Tennessee has resulted in the extirpation of the majority of species below the dam (Ahlstedt, 1984), including Pleurobema rubrum. Presently, plans are underway to impound 54 miles of the Duck River in Tennessee where P. rubrum occurs, and Jenkinson (1983) has transplanted at least one endangered unionid out of that stretch of river. The existing populations are predominately in mountainous areas with minimal agriculture bounding the rivers. Principal threats in these regions are quarry washings and fly ash runoff as well as sewage effluents. A minor commercial species (pink shell occasionally used in jewelry), its occurrence with and resemblance to some commercial species results in its harvest by clammers.

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: A number of occurrences and abundance has and continues to decline dramatically. It is likely extripated from Illinois where it once occurred in the Little Wabash River, as well as the Illinois River (pre-modern specimens found) (Cummings and Mayer, 1997). Parmalee and Bogan (1998) report it was known to inhabit the French Broad, Holston, and Little Tennessee Rivers prior to 1960 and in the Little Tennessee River prior to the closing of the Tellico Dam gates but no longer occurs there. It is likely extirpated from Indiana (IN NHP, pers. comm., 2009) although historically was known from the Wabash at Terre Haute and Lafayette, and in the Tippecanoe River in Carroll Co. (Blatchley and Daniels, 1903).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-50%
Long-term Trend Comments: This species is extirpated in Pennsylvania (Bogan, 1993; Spoo, 2008) where it formerly occurred in the Upper Ohio and Middle Allegheny-Redbank drainages (Ortmann, 1919). It has likely disappeared from nearly all of the Ohio River (Cicerello and Schuster, 2003; Watters, 1995). In Ohio, it historically occurred in the Ohio River from Marietta to Cincinnati, the Muskingum River to the Tuscarawas River, and the Scioto River in Pickaway Co., but today is limited to the lowest reaches of the lower Muskingum River where it is rare (Watters et al., 2009). In Alabama, it historically occurred in the Tennessee River across northern Alabama and in the Paint Rock River and extreme lower Limestone Creek in Limestone Co. but is extant only in the tailwaters of Guntersville and Wilson Dams (Williams et al., 2008). Relict shells are found in the bank deposits of southeast Kansas indicating the species may have once occurred in Kansas rivers. Warren (1995) confirmed occurrences first cited by Starrett (1971) in the Illinois River near Havana of premodern shells indicating the species once occurred in the Illinois River but no longer does. Utterback (1915) cites occurrences (as P. pyramidatum) in Missouri in the Osage River in Sagrada and Warsaw, Meramec River in Fern Glen, and Osage River in Baker, but it is likely extirpated there now.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Unknown
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Sensitive to pollution, siltation, habitat perturbation, inundation and loss of glochidial hosts.

Environmental Specificity: Unknown

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Determine extent of existing populations, continue surveys for additional EOs, and assess potential reintroduction sites.

Protection Needs: All populations should receive protection through acquisition, easement, registry, and working with local, state, and federal government agencies on issues relating to development, water quality, river designation, etc.

Distribution
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Global Range: (5000-20,000 square km (about 2000-8000 square miles)) Historically this species was distributed throughout the Mississippi, Wabash, Tennessee, and Ohio River systems. It appears to never have been common, consisting of less than 4% of those species found in prehistoric middens (Parmalee, 1967; Klippel and Bogan, 1980). Today the species is widely but very sporadically distributed. It has apparently been extirpated from much of its former range. Shimek (1921) reported it from the Mississippi River at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, but it has not been recovered since that time (Havlik and Stansbery, 1977), although Havlik (1983) reported dead shells in the Mississippi River Pool 8 in Wisconsin. Starrett (1971) did not find this species in a survey in 1966 of the Illinois River although it was known to occur there prior to 1900. It was found in the Tuscarawas River of the Muskingum River in Ohio by Hildreth (1828, as Unio undatus Variety B), Dean (1890), Sterki (1894, 1900), and Ortmann (1919) but has not been recently collected there. Williams (1969) and Dames and Moore (1980) recorded it from the Ohio River, in the vicinity of Clermont County, Ohio, but an extensive survey in 1984 did not recover it (Stansbery and Cooney, 1985). It has been extirpated from the Tennessee River in Alabama (Stansbery, 1976). It has been extirpated from the Wabash and East Fork White rivers in Indiana, the Osage River in Missouri, the Beech Fork Salt and Licking Rivers in Kentucky, and the Stones and Holston Rivers in Tennessee. A few small populations in Big Black and Yazoo River drainages on Mississippi (Jones et al., 2005). The species is fairly widespread and can be locally common in Arkansas (often as Pleurobema pyramidatum, with which it has been synonymized- see Johnson and Baker, 1973) in areas such as the Little Missouri, Saline, and Ouachita Rivers (Harris et al., 1997). In Louisiana, Vidrine (1993) listed it (as Pleurobema pyramidatum) from Bayou Bartholomew, the upper Mississippi River, Tensas River, Boeuf River, Ouachita River, and Bayou Dorcheat; all in northern Louisiana into Arkansas.

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 AL, AR, IAextirpated, ILextirpated, INextirpated, KS, KY, LA, MO, MS, NE, OH, OK, PA, TN, VA

Range Map
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U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Colbert (01033), Jackson (01071)*, Lauderdale (01077), Limestone (01083), Madison (01089), Marshall (01095), Morgan (01103)
AR Ashley (05003), Bradley (05011), Calhoun (05013), Clark (05019), Cleveland (05025), Crittenden (05035), Cross (05037), Dallas (05039), Drew (05043), Faulkner (05045), Grant (05053), Greene (05055), Hot Spring (05059), Independence (05063), Jackson (05067), Johnson (05071), Lawrence (05075), Little River (05081), Mississippi (05093)*, Montgomery (05097), Nevada (05099), Ouachita (05103), Poinsett (05111), Randolph (05121), Saline (05125), Sevier (05133), St. Francis (05123), Stone (05137), Union (05139), Van Buren (05141), Yell (05149)
IN Bartholomew (18005)*, Carroll (18015)*, Crawford (18025)*, Daviess (18027)*, Dubois (18037)*, Fountain (18045)*, Fulton (18049)*, Gibson (18051)*, Greene (18055)*, Harrison (18061)*, Jackson (18071)*, Knox (18083)*, Lawrence (18093)*, Marion (18097)*, Martin (18101)*, Morgan (18109)*, Owen (18119)*, Parke (18121)*, Pike (18125)*, Posey (18129)*, Pulaski (18131)*, Sullivan (18153)*, Tippecanoe (18157)*, Vermillion (18165)*, Vigo (18167)*, Warren (18171)*, Washington (18175)*, White (18181)*
KY Allen (21003), Ballard (21007)*, Barren (21009), Boone (21015)*, Butler (21031), Campbell (21037)*, Carroll (21041)*, Clinton (21053)*, Cumberland (21057)*, Edmonson (21061), Greenup (21089)*, Hart (21099), Henderson (21101)*, Jefferson (21111)*, Kenton (21117)*, Lewis (21135)*, Livingston (21139), Lyon (21143), Marshall (21157), McCracken (21145)*, Mercer (21167)*, Monroe (21171)*, Muhlenberg (21177), Nelson (21179)*, Ohio (21183), Oldham (21185)*, Pendleton (21191)*, Pulaski (21199)*, Russell (21207)*, Spencer (21215)*, Trigg (21221)*, Warren (21227), Wayne (21231)*, Woodford (21239)*
LA Franklin (22041), Madison (22065), Morehouse (22067), Richland (22083)
MS Bolivar (28011), Coahoma (28027)*, Hinds (28049), Humphreys (28053), Sharkey (28125), Sunflower (28133), Tishomingo (28141)*, Warren (28149), Washington (28151), Yazoo (28163)
OH Morgan (39115), Muskingum (39119)*, Washington (39167)
PA Allegheny (42003)*, Armstrong (42005)*, Beaver (42007)*
TN Hancock (47067), Marshall (47117), Maury (47119), Meigs (47121), Rhea (47143), Roane (47145), Wayne (47181)
VA Scott (51169)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
05 Middle Allegheny-Redbank (05010006)+*, Upper Ohio (05030101)+*, Little Muskingum-Middle Island (05030201)*, Upper Ohio-Shade (05030202)*, Tuscarawas (05040001)*, Muskingum (05040004)+, Lower Scioto (05060002)*, Little Scioto-Tygarts (05090103)+*, Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+*, Middle Ohio-Laughery (05090203)+*, Licking (05100101)+*, South Fork Licking (05100102)+*, Lower Kentucky (05100205)+*, Upper Green (05110001)+, Barren (05110002)+, Middle Green (05110003)+, Lower Green (05110005)+*, Middle Wabash-Deer (05120105)+*, Tippecanoe (05120106)+, Wildcat (05120107)+*, Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion (05120108)+*, Vermilion (05120109)+*, Sugar (05120110)+*, Middle Wabash-Busseron (05120111)+*, Lower Wabash (05120113)+*, Little Wabash (05120114)*, Upper White (05120201)+*, Lower White (05120202)+*, Upper East Fork White (05120206)+*, Lower East Fork White (05120208)+*, Upper Cumberland (05130101)*, Upper Cumberland-Lake Cumberland (05130103)+*, South Fork Cumberland (05130104)+*, Upper Cumberland-Cordell Hull (05130106), Collins (05130107)*, Lower Cumberland-Old Hickory Lake (05130201), Lower Cumberland-Sycamore (05130202)*, Stones (05130203), Lower Cumberland (05130205)+, Silver-Little Kentucky (05140101)+*, Salt (05140102)+*, Rolling Fork (05140103)+*, Blue-Sinking (05140104)+*, Lower Ohio-Little Pigeon (05140201)+*, Highland-Pigeon (05140202)+*, Lower Ohio-Bay (05140203)+*, Lower Ohio (05140206)+
06 Holston (06010104)*, Lower French Broad (06010107)*, Watts Bar Lake (06010201)*, Lower Little Tennessee (06010204)*, Upper Clinch (06010205)+, Lower Clinch (06010207)+, Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga (06020001)+, Guntersville Lake (06030001)+*, Wheeler Lake (06030002)+, Pickwick Lake (06030005)+, Lower Tennessee-Beech (06040001)+, Upper Duck (06040002)+, Kentucky Lake (06040005)+*, Lower Tennessee (06040006)+
07 Lower Illinois-Lake Chautauqua (07130003)*
08 Lower St. Francis (08020203)+, Little River Ditches (08020204)+*, Little Tallahatchie (08030201)*, Tallahatchie (08030202)*, Coldwater (08030204)*, Yalobusha (08030205)*, Upper Yazoo (08030206)+, Big Sunflower (08030207)+, Ouachita Headwaters (08040101)+, Upper Ouachita (08040102)+, Little Missouri (08040103)+, Lower Ouachita-Smackover (08040201)+, Lower Ouachita-Bayou De Loutre (08040202)+, Upper Saline (08040203)+, Lower Saline (08040204)+, Bayou Bartholomew (08040205)+, Boeuf (08050001)+, Bayou Macon (08050002)+, Tensas (08050003)+, Upper Big Black (08060201), Lower Big Black (08060202)+
11 Middle White (11010004)+, Lower Black (11010009)+, Eleven Point (11010011)+, Upper White-Village (11010013)+, Little Red (11010014)+, Spring (11070207)*, Dardanelle Reservoir (11110202)+, Petit Jean (11110204)+, Cadron (11110205)+, Kiamichi (11140105), Lower Little (11140109)+
+ 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 freshwater mussel.
General Description: SHELL: To 96 mm, strongly triangular in outline, the umbos at or before the anterior margin, strongly prosogyre. The shell has a characteristic 'twisted forward' shape. Smaller specimens are much higher in profile than older ones. Shell sculptureless except for coarse concentric growth lines. A well defined sulcus on the posterior slopes of the shell is evident at all sizes rendering the ventral margin sinuate. Shell thickened anteriorly, thin (and often broken) posteriorly. Pseudocardinal teeth massive, corrugated, and rotated forward to become parallel with the pseudolateral teeth. Two pseudocardinals and pseudolaterals each in left valve, one of each in right. Umbonal cavity moderately deep but wide. Anterior adductors and retractor muscle scars deeply set in shell, posterior scars less so. Periostracum yellowish to reddish brown, becoming dark with age. Juveniles occasionally have very fine dark rays over the shell. The nacre is pink, salmon, or less commonly, white.

ANIMAL: No specific information is available for this species but it is presumed to be similar to other species of Pleurobema. The following description is based upon Pleurobema clava. White to pale orange (unpreserved). The inner gill is somewhat larger than the outer in the male and nongravid female. In gravid females the outer is used as the brood pouch, (Pennak (1978, p 755) erroneously states that the inner gill is the brood pouch). The water tubes and placentae are lanceolate and the eggs pale in color. Incurrent opening coarsely papillose, excurrent finely papillose.

The shell has been illustrated by Parmalee (1967, plate 10C) and Burch (1975, figure 65) as Pleurobema cordatum pyramidatum and by Stansbery (1983, figure 2D).

Diagnostic Characteristics: Pleurobema plenum, Pleurobema cordatum, and Pleurobema sintoxia (= Coccineum) may be found with Pleurobema rubrum and are difficult to distinguish to the untrained eye. P. rubrum is the most prosogyre of the group, has the umbos situated the furthest forward, and often has pink nacre within the shell. The shell of this species may also be confused with large river ecophenotypes of Fusconaia flava (undata form) but differs in having a shallower beak cavity and in having the teeth set against the anterior margin without an intervening shelf (Stansbery, pers. comm.). Nevertheless, it is suggested that specimens be positively identified by a professional before any other actions are undertaken.
Reproduction Comments: Ortmann (1919) originally stated that virtually nothing is known specifically for Pleurobema rubrum. It probably breeds in mid-May to late July as females were found with eggs at this time (Ortmann, 1919). It is now believed to be tachytictic (Watters et al., 2009).

Based upon counts of annular growth lines, P. rubrum may reach 22+ years of age. It is not known at what ages reproductive maturity begins and ends. Because of the rarity of live material, it is not known if existing populations are reproductively active. Because of their small size, it is not known if juveniles are present in any of the populations. It must be emphasized that existing populations may be large, healthy, and reproductively active and still be in imminent danger of extinction if the host fish is not present in the range. No glochidal hosts have been identified for this species.

Females release conglutinates (Culp et al., 2006).

Recently, host fish studies confirmed the following glochidial hosts: Cyprinella spiloptera (spotfin shiner), Erimystax dissimilis (strealine chub), Lythrurus fasciolaris (scarlet shiner), and Notropis photogenis (silver shiner) (Culp et al., 2006).

Ecology Comments: No specific study has considered this species. Some density data in Jenkinson (1988) indicates the poor condition of extant populations. Also refer to the General Freshwater Mussel ESA.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: This species is probably rather sessile with only limited movement thrrough the substrate. Passive downstream movement may occur when mussels are displaced from the substrate during floods. Major dispersal occurs while glochidia are encysted on their hosts.
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient, Riffle
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: This mussel typically inhabits large rivers but may occur in medium-sized lotic environments. It tends to occupy riffles or shoals in relatively shallow water and coarse-particle substrates, along sand bars, or in deep water (>4 m) with stable mud and muddy sand bottoms (Watters et al., 2009). Moderate to swift currents usually are associated with these habitats (Gordon and Layzer, 1989). It persists below some Tennessee River dams in sub-lotic zones of the next reservoir which have substantial currents from power releases.
Adult Food Habits: Detritivore
Immature Food Habits: Parasitic
Food Comments: Larvae (glochidia) of freshwater mussles generally are parasitic on fish and display varying degrees of host specificity. No specific trophic studies have been conducted on this species. General literature claims that mussels are filter feeders that remove phytoplankton from the water column. These assumptions are based on casual observations of mussels in situ and a few examinations of rectal contents. Baker (1928) speculated that detritus was the primary energy source. this has been substantiated by James (1987) and correlates well with observed microhabitat utilization. This suggests that mussels may occupy a variety of guilds such as postulated for the Sphaeriidae (see Lopez and Holopaien, 1987; Gordon and Layzer, 1989).
Phenology Comments: Little is known concerning the phenology of mussels other than when eggs/glochidia are held in the branchial marsupia. Being poikilothermic, activity levels would expectedly be reduced greatly during cold temperature months.
Length: 9.6 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Restoration Potential: The original range of this species is, to a large degree, impounded and non-recoverable or in heavily impacted rivers such as the Ohio River and Kanawha River. It is doubtful that the range of P. RUBRUM can ever be recovered. Furthermore, until the host fish has been identified, it is unlikely that a successful program to conserve this species can be realistically undertaken.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Refer to the General Freshwater Mussel ESA.
Management Requirements: Refer to the General Freshwater Mussel ESA.
Monitoring Requirements: PLEUROBEMA RUBRUM now occurs only in disjunct, small populations. Several recent populations have already presumably been extirpated by impoundment and others are in danger of future impoundment.

Refer to the General Freshwater Mussel ESA.

Management Research Needs: Refer to the General Freshwater Mussel ESA.
Biological Research Needs: Determine habitat preferences and environmental tolerances (e.g., to pollutants and siltation). Re-examine reproductive biology and potential glochidial hosts.
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: 03Jan2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cordeiro, J. (2010); Gordon, M.E. (1992)
Management Information Edition Date: 01Aug1986
Management Information Edition Author: Watters, G. Thomas
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 03Jan2010
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).

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References for Watershed Distribution Map
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