Quadrula asperata - (I. Lea, 1861)
Alabama Orb
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Quadrula asperata (I. Lea, 1861) (TSN 80074)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.117991
Element Code: IMBIV39020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Mollusks - Freshwater Mussels
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mollusca Bivalvia Unionoida Unionidae Quadrula
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: Quadrula asperata
Taxonomic Comments: In a study of molecular phylogeny of the genus Quadrula, sequence data from the ND1 gene portion did not resolve relationships among populations of Quadrula asperata and Quadrula kieneriana but the two species formed a distinct clade but additional data will be necessary to test the validity of these taxonomic entities (Serb et al., 2003). Localized smooth forms (Q. archeri, Q. kieneriana) have been reported as endemic species in the Upper Tallapoosa and Coosa drainages respectively but it is not known whether they are merely synonymous of Quadrula asperata (Serb et al., 2003). In the original description, Frierson (1905) notes, "it reminds one of Q. asperata, Lea." Quadrula archeri is restricted to the Tallapoosa River above the Fall Line but the taxonomic status (full species or subspecies) remains unclear. At a minumum it warrants subspecific status as it is morphologically distinct, occurs in a geographically defined area, and was isolated by the falls at Tallahassee, Elmore Co., Alabama, prior to impoundment of the Tallapoosa River (Williams et al., 2008). In a recent Tallapoosa River drainage mussel survey no live individuals or shells of Q. asperata archeri were found (Johnson and DeVries, 2002).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 18May2009
Global Status Last Changed: 25Nov1996
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: This species has a limited range in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi but recent surveys in the UAD and elsewhere in the Mobile Basin indicate that Quadrula asperata is widespread and locally abundant. It is considered stable throughout its range and is not presently protected by any state or federal agencies.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (16Jul1998)

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 (S5), Georgia (S4), Mississippi (S4)

Other Statuses

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

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Quadrula asperata is endemic to the Mobile Drainage and is known from the Alabama, Black Warrior, Cahaba, Coosa, and Tombigbee river systems. In Mississippi, it is known from the Tombigbee River drainage where it is a species of concern (Jones et al., 2005). Historic records are known from throughout the Upper Alabama Drainage including tributaries of the Upper Coosa in Georgia (Evans, 2001). Quadrula asperata is absent from most of the Coosa River impoundments where it appears to be replaced by Quadrula rumphiana. Subspecies archeri is restricted to the Tallapoosa River above the Fall Line

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

Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: In Mississippi, it is known from the Tombigbee River drainage where it is a species of concern (Jones et al., 2005). Johnson and Ahlstedt (2005) located specimens in 2005 in the Luxapallila drainage on the Mississippi/Alabama border. It is the most easily recognizable and abundant Quadrula in the upper Alabama drainage in Georgia (Gangloff, 2003). In the Coosa River basin in Georgia, it is known historically from the Coosa, Etowah, Oostanaula, Conasauga, and Coosawattee River drainages with recent records from the Oostanaula and Coosawattee (Williams and Hughes, 1998). In Alabama, Mirarchi (2004) lists it as common and endemic to the Mobile basin (above and below the Fall Line) but introduced into the lower Tennessee River. This species was recently collected from the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa and Greene/Hale Cos. and upper Tombigbee River in Sumter and Greene Cos., Alabama (Williams et al., 1992). McGregor et al. (1999) documented it in several sites in the Alabama and Tombigbee River drainages, Alabama.

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Quadrula asperata numbers in unstable reaches of lower Chewacla Creek (Macon County, Georgia) declined dramatically following during Spring 2001 floods (Gangloff, 2003).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few to some (4-40)
Viability/Integrity Comments: It is widespread in the Mobile Basin and may be locally abundant (Williams et al., 2008).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Although specific threats to this species have not been addressed in detail, the primary reason for the imperilment of Mississippi's unionid mussels is the destruction and alteration of their habitats. Factors responsible for freshwater mussel habitat destruction in Mississippi include reservoir construction (Coldwater, Pearl, Little Tallahatchie, Tennessee, Tombigbee, Yalobusha, and Yocona Rivers plus many tributaries), channel degradation for navigation and flood control, sand and gravel mining, deterioration of water quality (excessive sediment from agriculture, pollution) (Jones et al., 2005).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Recent surveys in the UAD and elsewhere in the Mobile Basin indicate that Quadrula asperata is widespread and locally abundant (McGregor and Pierson, 1999; McGregor et al., 1999; 2000; Gangloff, 2003; Mirarchi, 2004). Quadrula asperata is considered stable throughout its range and is not presently protected by any state or federal agencies (Harris, 1990; Williams et al., 1993). In Alabama, it is considered an important commercial species (Mirarchi, 2004).

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

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Not intrinsically vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Moderate. Generalist or community with some key requirements scarce.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Quadrula asperata are typically concentrated in stable patches of sand or gravel in areas protected from direct flow. Although found at a wide range of depths and flows, mean depth and flow are low relative to those where other mussels are found. Quadrula asperata, like other mussels in coastal plain streams, often aggregate in stable gravel patches, along banks, or near embedded woody debris (Brim-Box and Mossa, 1999).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)) Quadrula asperata is endemic to the Mobile Drainage and is known from the Alabama, Black Warrior, Cahaba, Coosa, and Tombigbee river systems. In Mississippi, it is known from the Tombigbee River drainage where it is a species of concern (Jones et al., 2005). Historic records are known from throughout the Upper Alabama Drainage including tributaries of the Upper Coosa in Georgia (Evans, 2001). Quadrula asperata is absent from most of the Coosa River impoundments where it appears to be replaced by Quadrula rumphiana. Subspecies archeri is restricted to the Tallapoosa River above the Fall Line

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, GA, MS

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Baldwin (01003), Bibb (01007), Blount (01009), Choctaw (01023), Clarke (01025), Dallas (01047), Fayette (01057), Greene (01063), Jefferson (01073), Lamar (01075), Lowndes (01085), Macon (01087), Monroe (01099), Montgomery (01101), Perry (01105), Pickens (01107), Shelby (01117), Sumter (01119), Tuscaloosa (01125), Wilcox (01131)
GA Floyd (13115), Gordon (13129), Murray (13213), Whitfield (13313)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Conasauga (03150101)+, Coosawattee (03150102)+, Oostanaula (03150103)+, Lower Tallapoosa (03150110)+, Upper Alabama (03150201)+, Cahaba (03150202)+, Middle Alabama (03150203)+, Lower Alabama (03150204)+, Buttahatchee (03160103)+, Sipsey (03160107)+, Locust (03160111)+, Upper Black Warrior (03160112)+, Middle Tombigbee-Chickasaw (03160201)+, Sucarnoochee (03160202)+
+ 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: This species is a short-term brooder gravid from spring to early summer. Glochidia are released freely and not contained in conglutinates. Copious mucus is produced on release and many glochidia may be bound within the mucus. Fish hosts include Ictalurus punctatus (channel catfish) with Noturus leptacanthus (speckled madtom) as a marginal host (Haag and Warren, 2003).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Pool
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Quadrula asperata are typically concentrated in stable patches of sand or gravel in areas protected from direct flow. Although found at a wide range of depths and flows, mean depth and flow are low relative to those where other mussels are found. Quadrula asperata, like other mussels in coastal plain streams, often aggregate in stable gravel patches, along banks, or near embedded woody debris (Brim-Box and Mossa, 1999).
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: 18May2009
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cordeiro, J.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 25May2007
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
  • Brim Box, J. and J. Mossa. 1999. Sediment, land use, and freshwater mussels: prospects and problems. Journal of the North American Benthological Society, 18(1): 99-117.

  • Evans, R.D. 2001. Historical and contemporary distributions of aquatic mollusks in the Upper Connasauga River system of Georgia and Tennessee. M.S. Thesis, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Tennessee. 277 pp.

  • Frierson, L.S. 1905. New Unionidae from Alabama. The Nautilus, 14(2): 13-14.

  • Gangloff, M.M. 2003. The status, physical habitat associations, and parasites of freshwater mussels in the upper Alabama River Drainage, Alabama. Ph.D. Dissertation, Auburn University.

  • Haag, W.R. and M.L. Warren, Jr. 2003. Host fishes and infection strategies of freshwater mussels in large Mobile Basin streams, USA. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 22(1):78-91.

  • Harris, S.C. 1990d. Preliminary considerations on rare and endangered invertebrates in Alabama. Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science 61(2): 64-92.

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

  • Johnson, J.A. and D.R. DeVries. 1997-1998 [2002]. The freshwater mussel and snail species of the Tallapoosa River drainage, Alabama, U.S.A. Walkerana 9(22):121-138.

  • Johnson, P.D. and S.A. Ahlstedt. 2005. Results of a brief survey for freshwater mussels in the Yellow Creek Watershed, Lowndes County, Mississippi and Lamar and Fayette Counties, Alabama. Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Daphne, Alabama. Unpainated.

  • Jones, R.L., W.T. Slack, and P.D. Hartfield. 2005. The freshwater mussels (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Unionidae) of Mississippi. Southeastern Naturalist, 4(1): 77-92.

  • 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.

  • McGregor, S.W. and J.M. Pierson. 1999. Recent freshwater mussel (Bivalvia: Unionacea) records from the North River system, Fayette and Tuscaloosa counties, Alabama. Journal of the Alabama Academy of Sciences, 70: 153-161.

  • McGregor, S.W., P.E. O'Neil, and J.M. Pierson. 2000. Status of the freshwater mussel (Bivalvia: Unionidae) fauna of the Cahaba River system, Alabama. Walkerana, 11(26): 215-237.

  • McGregor, S.W., T.E. Shepard, T.D. Richardson, and J.F. Fitzpatrick, Jr. 1999. A survey of the primary tributaries of the Alabama and Lower Tombigbee rivers for freshwater mussels, snails, and crayfish. Geological Survey of Alabama, Circular 196. 29 pp.

  • Mirarchi, R. E., editor. 2004. Alabama wildlife. Volume one. A checklist of vertebrates and selected invertebrates: aquatic mollusks, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 209 pp.

  • 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.

  • Serb, J.M., J.E. Buhan, and C. Lydeard. 2003. Molecular systematics of the North American freshwater bivalve genus Quadrula (Unionidae: Ambleminae) based on mitochondrial ND1 sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 28: 1-11.

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

  • Williams, J.D. and M.H. Hughes. 1998. Freshwater mussels of selected reaches of the main channel rivers in the Coosa drainage of Georgia. U.S. Geological report to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Alabama. 21 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.

  • Williams, J.D., S.L.H. Fuller, and R. Gracea. 1992a. Effects of impoundment on freshwater mussels (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Unionidae) in the main channel of the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers in western Alabama. Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History 13:1-10.

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • Mirarchi, R.E., et al. 2004a. Alabama Wildlife. Volume One: A Checklist of Vertebrates and Selected Invertebrates: Aquatic Mollusks, Fishes, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals. University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 209 pp.

  • 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.

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