Theliderma cylindrica cylindrica - (Say, 1817)
Rabbitsfoot
Synonym(s): Quadrula cylindrica cylindrica (Say, 1817)
Taxonomic Status: Not accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Quadrula cylindrica cylindrica (Say, 1817) (TSN 80068)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.108120
Element Code: IMBIV39041
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Mollusks - Freshwater Mussels
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mollusca Bivalvia Unionoida Unionidae Theliderma
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: Quadrula cylindrica cylindrica
Taxonomic Comments: Subspecies are no longer recognized (Williams et al. 2017). Quadrula cylindrica is now placed in Theliderma following Williams et al. (2017).

See Stansbery (1970) to differentiate from Quadrula cylindrica strigillata. Has also been placed in the genera Unio and Orthonymus. Two subspecies are currently recognized; Quadrula cylindrica cylindrica (Say, 1817) of the upper Ohio River drainage and Quadrula cylindrica strigillata (B.H. Wright, 1898) in the Tennessee River drainage (Butler, 2005) with morphological differentiation provided in Stansbery (1970). Recent examination of mitochondrial DNA sequences of 888 base-pairs from 32 Q. cylindrica cylindrica from Tennessee, Arkansas, and Kentucky, and 7 Q. cylindrica strigillata from Tennessee indicate these two subspecies do not represent taxonomic entities (FMCS annual meeting abstracts, 2007).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3G4T3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 18May2009
Global Status Last Changed: 05Mar2007
Rounded Global Status: T3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Although widely distributed, occurrences are spotty, and it has been eliminated from a portion of its historic range, and is on many state endangered species lists.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3N4 (05Mar2007)

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 (SNR), Illinois (SNR), Indiana (S1), Kansas (S1), Louisiana (S1), Mississippi (S1), Missouri (S1), Ohio (S1), Oklahoma (S1), Pennsylvania (S1S2), Tennessee (S3)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LT: Listed threatened (17Sep2013)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast
IUCN Red List Category: NT - Near threatened
American Fisheries Society Status: Threatened (01Jan1993)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Historically, the rabbitsfoot occurred in the lower Great Lakes sub-basin and Mississippi River Basin from 137 streams in 15 states including: the lower Great Lakes sub-basin, Ohio River system, Cumberland River system, Tennessee River system, lower Mississippi River sub-basin, White River system, Arkansas River system, Red River system. Reports from Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, and New York, are questionable, at best (Butler, 2005). It is found throughout the Ohio River drainage from headwaters in Pennsylvania to the mouth of the Ohio River (Ortmann, 1919; Cummings and Mayer, 1992). It is widespread in the Cumberland River drainage downstream of Cumberland Falls (Cicerello et al., 1991; Parmalee and Bogan, 1998) and in the Tennessee River drainage from headwaters in southwestern Virginia downstream to the mouth of the Tennessee River (Ahlstedt, 1992a; 1992b; Parmalee and Bogan, 1998). It also occurs in some tributaries of the lower Mississippi River from southeastern Kansas (Murray and Leonard, 1962) and Missouri (Oesch, 1995) south to Arkansas (Harris and Gordon, 1990), northern Louisiana (Vidrine, 1993) and Mississippi (Jones et al., 2005). he rabbitsfoot is believed extirpated from Georgia and West Virginia, while its continued existence in several other states (e.g., Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri) is extremely perilous (Butler, 2005).

Area of Occupancy: 2,501 to >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Populations are extant in 46 streams in 13 states and 5 Service regions including: lower Great Lakes, Ohio River, Cumberland River, Tennessee River, lower Mississippi River, White River, Arkansas River, Red River systems and sub-basins; in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, and perhaps Virginia (see below). Although rare in most states, it is found in 5 or 6 sites in the Tippecanoe (Cummings and Berlocher, 1990; Ecological Specialists, Inc., 1993), and Vermillion, Embarras (likely extirpated), Lower Ohio, Wabash (likely extirpated) Rivers (Cummings and Mayer, 1997); and at 8 sites in the Spring River in SW Missouri and Black and St. Francis Rivers in SE Missouri (Oesch, 1995). In Kansas it is rare and widely scattered in the Neosho and Spring Rivers but extirpated from the Cottonwood River (Neosho drainage) and Shoal Creek (Spring drainage) (Couch, 1997). Harris and Gordon (1990) report it as widespread but not abundant in Arkansas with large populations in the Spring and Black drainages while Harris and Gordon (1987) cited it as relatively common in the middle to lower Spring River and 4 sites in the Black River with records for the Ouachita and Little Rivers as relict only. However, Harris et al. (1997) cited new records for the Ouachita River system and White River (see Posey et al., 1996; Christian, 1995) with low numbers. It is sporadic in the lower Ohio, Tennessee, lower Cumberland and upper Green Rivers in Kentucky (Cicerello, et al. 1991) but once occurred statewide (Cicerello and Schuster, 2003). In Alabama, it is extant in Paint Rock River system and a short reach of Bear Creek, Colbert Co. (Mirarchi et al., 2004; Williams et al., 2008). In Tennessee it is in the Elk River (in Lincoln Co.; relict at RM 105.4- Hubbs, 2002), Duck River, east fork Stones River, and in the Tennessee River (Kentucky Lake) below Pickwick Landing Dam downstream and historical from the Buffalo, French Broad, and Caney Fork Rivers (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998) and possibly the Red River into Kentucky. Q. cylindrica strigillata intergrades with Q. cylindrica cylindrica in the Clinch River in Scott County, Virginia and lower portions of the Clinch, Powell, and Holston Rivers prior to impoundment (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998). Louisiana occurrences are limited to Bayou Bartholomeau and Ouachita Rivers, but it formerly occurred in the upper Mississippi River (Vidrine, 1993). In Mississippi, it is known from the Yazoo, Tennessee, Lake Maurepas, and Tombigbee drainages (Jones et al., 2005). In Illinois, it was once widely distributed in the Vermilion, Wabash, and Ohio Rivers; now occasional in the North Fork Vermilion River and sporadic in the Ohio River (Cummings and Mayer, 1997). In Indiana, it was once widespread across the Wabash (Fisher, 2006), White, and Ohio River drainages but is now largely extirpated except a few populations in the Tippecanoe and Eel Rivers (IN NHP, pers. comm., 2006) and St. Joseph River in Allen Co. (Watters, 1988; Pryor, 2005). Weathered shells are known from Sugar Creek (east fork White River drainage) in central Indiana (Harmon, 1992). Oklahoma occurrences are limited to the Upper Little (3 substantial populations- Galbraith et al., 2008) and Glover (Vaughn and Taylor, 1999; Vaughn, 2000), Lower Verdigris (Boeckman and Bidwell, 2008), Lake O' the Cherokees (historical), Blue (historical), and Illinois drainages (Branson, 1982). In western Pennsylvania it is largely historical (Mahoning, Upper Ohio, Beaver, Middle Allegheny- Redbank, Lower Monongahala drainages) (Ortmann, 1919) with recent occurrences in the Shenango (Bursey, 1987) and French River drainages (PA NHP, pers. comm., 2006). In Ohio, it is confined to Fish Creek, Big (rare) and Little Darby Creek, and historical in several tributaries of the Scioto and Muskingum Rivers but absent from the Lake Erie proper (Watters, 1995; Watters et al., 2009).

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Due to problems obtaining a unbiased and complete sample, abundance in mussels is always difficult to estimate, and no estimates of population size or abundance have been made for this species.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few (4-12)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Quadrula cylindrica cylindrica:
Viability is limited in Fish Creek in a four-mile reach of stream in Ohio upstream from the confluence with the St. Joseph River. The population in the lowermost Ohio River reach has multiple age classes and is considered long-term viable. The Allegheny River population in Pennsylvania is not showing signs of recruitment. The French Creek rabbitsfoot population is considered relatively healthy and long-term viable and represents one of the better populations rangewide. It stretches from a few miles downstream of Union City Reservoir in southern Erie County to about 7 miles above the Allegheny River confluence at Franklin, a distance of roughly 75 RMs. Status of the population in Muddy Creek in western Pennsylvania is questionable. The Walhonding River population in central Ohio has limited viability. The Scioto River system, in central and south-central Ohio, only has viable populations in Big and Little Darby Creeks. The Green River in west-central Kentucky is both improving and long-term viable and probably represents the best population range-wide. Kentucky's Barren River and Rough River populations are likely not viable. The five remaining (of 15 historical) populations in the Wabash River system appear close to extirpation including that of the Wabash mainstem. Viability in the Eel River in north-central Indiana is unknown. The rabbitsfoot population is considered long-term viable at present and is currently known from a 50 RM reach (minus two main stem reservoirs) of the Tippecanoe River in north-central Indiana but at highly disjunct localities in the lower two-thirds of the river in Fulton, Pulaski, White, Carroll, and Tippecanoe Counties. The north fork of the Vermillion River in west-central Indiana exhibits low viability levels. The Cumberland River populations are all extirpated or nearly so. The east fork of the Stones River in central Tennessee has a rare declining population of doubtful viability. The Red River in southwestern Kentucky and Northwestern Tennessee has a very small population of doubtful viability. The only viable populations in the Tennessee River system are in the Duck River and lower two tailwaters on the Tennessee River. In the lower Mississippi River sub-basin, a viable population exists in the St. Francis River. In the White River system, at least three viable populations remain, primarily in the lower portions of the White, Black, and Strawberry Rivers in Arkansas. In the Arkansas River system, the rabbitsfoot shows limited viability in the Neosho and Illinois Rivers. In the Red River system, all 7 streams (of 11 historically) that the species is known from are considered small and could easily become extirpated but parts of the Little River population are considered viable (Butler, 2005).

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Most of the information below is taken directly from Butler (2005) and the sources cited therein:
The chief causes of this decline are impoundments, channelization, chemical contaminants, mining, and sedimentation (Neves, 1991, 1993; Williams et al., 1993; Neves et al., 1997; Watters, 2000). Bourgeoning human populations will invariably increase the likelihood that many if not all of the factors in this section will continue to impact rabbitsfoot populations. The decline, extirpation, and extinction of mussel species is overwhelmingly attributed to habitat alteration and destruction (Neves, 1993), primarily manifest through impounding riverine systems. Historical population losses due to impoundments have probably contributed more to the decline and imperilment of the rabbitsfoot than any other single factor. Dams interrupt most of a river's ecological processes by modifying flood pulses; controlling impounded water elevations; altering water flow, sediments, nutrients, and energy inputs and outputs; increasing depth; decreasing habitat heterogeneity; decreasing stability due to subsequent sedimentation; blocking host fish passage; and isolating mussel populations from fish hosts. Impoundments also dramatically modify riffle and shoal habitats and result in the loss of mussel resources, especially in highly diverse larger rivers. The reproductive process of riverine mussels is generally disrupted by impoundments. No exception to this rule, the rabbitsfoot does not occur in reservoirs lacking riverine characteristics and is unable to successfully reproduce and recruit under reservoir conditions. It may persist and even exhibit some level of recruitment, however, in some large rivers with locks and dams if riverine habitat remains (e.g., Ohio, Tennessee Rivers). In addition, dams can also seriously alter downstream water quality and riverine habitat, and negatively impact or eliminate tailwater mussel populations. Seasonally altered flow regimes from dams, even when thermally conducive for riverine mussel populations, may also preclude successful recruitment in tailwater reaches. Large river habitat throughout nearly the entire range of this species has been impounded leaving generally short, isolated patches of vestigial habitat mostly in tailwaters below certain dams. The majority of the main stems of the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee River, and White Rivers and many of their largest tributaries, including reaches that were once strongholds for the rabbitsfoot, are now impounded and in many cases impacted by tailwater conditions unsuitable for this species. Dams on many streams in the Cumberlandian region have directly destroyed rabbitsfoot habitat. These include nine on the main stem Tennessee River, and others on the Holston, Little Tennessee, Clinch, Elk, and Duck Rivers, and Bear Creek). Dredging and channelization activities have profoundly altered riverine habitats nationwide. Channelization impacts a stream's physical (e.g., accelerated erosion, increased bedload, reduced depth, decreased habitat diversity, geomorphic instability, riparian canopy loss) and biological (e.g., decreased fish and mussel diversity, changed species composition and abundance, decreased biomass, and reduced growth rates) characteristics. Contaminants in point and non-point discharges can degrade water and substrate quality, and adversely impact or completely destroy mussel populations. The effects of contaminants (e.g., metals, chlorine, ammonia) are especially profound on juvenile mussels. Heavy metal-rich drainage from coal mining and associated sedimentation has adversely impacted many drainages with rabbitsfoot populations, including portions of the upper Ohio River system in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; the lower Ohio River system in eastern Illinois; the Rough River drainage in western Kentucky; and the upper Cumberland River system in Kentucky and Tennessee. Various mining activities take place in other systems that have affected or potentially continue to impact rabbitsfoot populations. Negative impacts associated with gravel mining include stream channel modifications (e.g., altered habitat, disrupted flow patterns, sediment transport), water quality modifications (e.g., increased turbidity, reduced light penetration, increased temperature), macroinvertebrate population changes (e.g., elimination, habitat disruption, increased sedimentation), and changes in fish populations (e.g., impacts to spawning and nursery habitat, food web disruptions). Sedimentation, including siltation, has been implicated in the decline of stream mussel populations. Many rabbitsfoot streams in the Midwest and Southeast have increased turbidity levels due to siltation. It produces conglutinates that appear to function in attracting visual-feeding host fishes. Such a reproductive strategy depends on clear water when mussels are releasing glochidia. Agricultural activities produce the most significant amount of sediment that enters streams. Developmental activities may impact streams where adequate streamside buffers are not maintained and erosion of impacted land is allowed to freely enter streams. These may include highway construction, building construction, general infrastructure (e.g., utilities, sewer systems), and recreation facilities (e.g., golf courses). Water withdrawals for agricultural irrigation, municipal, and industrial water supplies are an increasing concern for all aquatic resources and are directly correlated with expanding human populations. This impact has the potential to be another (in addition to increased level of general development) problem for the substantial rabbitsfoot population in the Duck River. Numerous streams having rabbitsfoot populations were actively worked by "pearlers" (e.g., Little Miami, Cumberland, Obey, Stones, Tennessee, French Broad, Clinch, Elk, Duck, St. Francis, White, Buffalo, Black, Ouachita Rivers; Caney Fork). However, the rabbitsfoot was never a valuable shell for the commercial pearl button industry nor the cultured pearl industry, and hence these activities were probably not significant factors in its decline. The alien species that may pose the most significant threat is the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas, 1771). The zebra mussel invasion poses a threat to mussel faunas in many regions, and species extinctions are expected as a result of its continued spread in the eastern United States (Ricciardi et al., 1998). Overlapping much of the current range of the rabbitsfoot, zebra mussels have been detected and/or are established in rabbitsfoot streams (e.g., Ohio, Allegheny, Green, Tennessee, White Rivers; French, Bear Creeks). Populations appear to be maintained primarily in streams with barge navigation. The Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea (Müller, 1774), has spread throughout the Mississippi River Basin since its introduction into the basin in the mid-1900s. This species has been implicated as a competitor with native mussels, particularly juveniles, for resources such as food, nutrients, and space (Neves and Widlak, 1987, Leff et al., 1990). According to Strayer (1999), dense populations of Asian clams may ingest large numbers of unionid sperm, glochidia, and newly-metamorphosed juveniles. He also thought they actively disturb sediments, so dense populations may reduce habitat for juvenile native mussels. Periodic dieoffs of Asian clams may produce enough ammonia and consume enough DO to kill native mussels (Strayer, 1999). Native to China, the black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus) is a potential threat to the rabbitsfoot (Strayer, 1999). The round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) is another alien invader fish species released in the 1980s into the Great Lakes in ballast waters originating in southeastern Europe (Strayer, 1999). The harvest of Cumberlandian Region mussel species for commercial purposes is well documented (Downing and Downing, 2001). It is doubtful, however, that this species has ever been overly exploited for pearling, pearl buttons, cultured pearls, or any other exploitative activity (USFWS, 2004).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 50-70%
Short-term Trend Comments: Based on historical and current data, the rabbitsfoot is declining rangewide and is now extant only in 46 of 137 streams of historical occurrence, representing a 66% decline. Further, in the streams where it is extant, populations with few exceptions are highly fragmented and restricted to short reaches. Realistically, much more than 66% of the species' historically available habitat no longer supports populations. Total range reduction and overall population loss for the rabbitsfoot realistically approaches--if not exceeds--90%. Ten of the 15 states from which the rabbitsfoot is historically known consider it endangered (Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio, and Pennsylvania), threatened (Kentucky and Tennessee), special concern (Arkansas), or have assigned it uncategorized conservation status (Alabama). The rabbitsfoot is believed extirpated from Georgia and West Virginia. Five streams in addition to a canal historically had populations in the lower Great Lakes sub-basin, but only a single stream population remains today. The species has experienced a 75% decline in the Ohio River system. The compilation of distributional information herein abundantly indicates a severe reduction in range of the rabbitsfoot over the past 40 years (Butler, 2005).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 70-90%
Long-term Trend Comments: The historical museum data (~pre-1980) indicates that good rabbitsfoot populations occurred in at least the Ohio River, Walhonding River, Big Sandy River, Scioto River, Olentangy River, Nolin River, Wabash River, North Fork Vermilion River, Obey River, Tennessee River, White River, Black River, Spring River, Strawberry River, Illinois River, Glover River, and Cossatot River. Based on information gleaned from museum and historical literature records, a potential argument can be made for localized but not overall abundance of this species historically. Populations of the rabbitsfoot were last reported decades ago (~40+ years) from about one-third of the streams where it historically occurred (e.g., Maumee River, St. Marys River, Monongahela River, West Fork River, Beaver River, Pymatuning Creek, Mahoning River, Little Kanawha River, Big Sandy River, Levisa Fork, Scioto River, Olentangy River, Whetstone Creek, Big Walnut Creek, Alum Creek, Russell Creek, Barren River, Drakes Creek, West Fork Drakes Creek, Middle Fork Vermillion River, Salt Fork Vermillion River, White River, East Fork White River, Driftwood River, Big Blue River, Flatrock River, West Fork White River, Rockcastle River, Big South Fork, Beaver Creek, Caney Fork, Stones River, West Fork Stones River, Harpeth River, Holston River, Clinch River, Sequatchie River, Larkin Fork, Flint River, North Fork White River, Verdigris River, Fall River, Blue River, Mountain Fork Little River). In some streams the only records known represent archeological specimens (e.g., Little Pigeon River, Little Tennessee River, Yazoo River). The compilation of distributional information herein abundantly indicates a severe reduction in range of the rabbitsfoot over the past 40 years. Based on historical and current data, the rabbitsfoot is declining rangewide and is now extant only in 46 of 137 streams of historical occurrence, representing a 66% decline. Further, in the streams where it is extant, populations with few exceptions are highly fragmented and restricted to short reaches. Any historical occurrences in Georgia are now believed extirpated (J. Wisniewski, GA NHP, pers. comm., January 2007). The rabbitsfoot is believed extirpated from Georgia and West Virginia, while its continued existence in several other states (e.g., Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri) is extremely perilous (Butler, 2005). Quadrula cylindrica strigillata intergrades with Quadrula cylindrica cylindrica in the Clinch River in Scott County, Virginia. Realistically, much more than 66% of the species' historically available habitat no longer supports populations. Total range reduction and overall population loss for the rabbitsfoot realistically approaches--if not exceeds--90% (Butler, 2005).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: The majority of the remaining rabbitsfoot populations are generally small and geographically isolated. The factor that most noticeably results in population isolation is impoundment but may also include stream reaches heavily impacted by toxic effluents and contaminated sediments. The patchy distributional pattern of populations in short river reaches makes them much more susceptible to extirpation due to the lack of recolonization from other populations. Single catastrophic events, such as toxic chemical spills, could cause the extirpation of small, isolated rabbitsfoot occurrences. The likelihood is high that some rabbitsfoot populations are below the effective population size (EPS) (Soulé, 1980) required to maintain long-term genetic and population viability. Recruitment reduction or failure is a potential problem for many small rabbitsfoot populations rangewide, a potential condition exacerbated by its reduced range and increasingly isolated populations. Without the level of genetic interchange the species experienced historically (i.e., without barriers such as reservoirs), small isolated populations that may now be comprised predominantly of adult specimens could be slowly dying out (Butler, 2005).

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.
Environmental Specificity Comments: The decline in the overall range of this species suggests that it is not very tolerant to poor water quality. The sites where it still occurrs are usually high quality streams with little disturbance to the substrate or degradation of water quality.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Additional survey work in parts of its historical range may be warrented, but most of the populations appear to be well documented. Periodic surveys of known populations should be done to monitor the status of the remaining populations. An inventory of existing museum records should be compiled to provide information on historical sites and potential new ones.

Distribution
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Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Historically, the rabbitsfoot occurred in the lower Great Lakes sub-basin and Mississippi River Basin from 137 streams in 15 states including: the lower Great Lakes sub-basin, Ohio River system, Cumberland River system, Tennessee River system, lower Mississippi River sub-basin, White River system, Arkansas River system, Red River system. Reports from Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, and New York, are questionable, at best (Butler, 2005). It is found throughout the Ohio River drainage from headwaters in Pennsylvania to the mouth of the Ohio River (Ortmann, 1919; Cummings and Mayer, 1992). It is widespread in the Cumberland River drainage downstream of Cumberland Falls (Cicerello et al., 1991; Parmalee and Bogan, 1998) and in the Tennessee River drainage from headwaters in southwestern Virginia downstream to the mouth of the Tennessee River (Ahlstedt, 1992a; 1992b; Parmalee and Bogan, 1998). It also occurs in some tributaries of the lower Mississippi River from southeastern Kansas (Murray and Leonard, 1962) and Missouri (Oesch, 1995) south to Arkansas (Harris and Gordon, 1990), northern Louisiana (Vidrine, 1993) and Mississippi (Jones et al., 2005). he rabbitsfoot is believed extirpated from Georgia and West Virginia, while its continued existence in several other states (e.g., Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri) is extremely perilous (Butler, 2005).

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, IL, IN, KS, LA, MO, MS, OH, OK, PA, TN

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Colbert (01033), Franklin (01059)*, Jackson (01071), Lauderdale (01077)*, Madison (01089), Marshall (01095)
IN Allen (18003), Bartholomew (18005), Carroll (18015), Cass (18017), Daviess (18027)*, De Kalb (18033), Delaware (18035), Fountain (18045), Fulton (18049), Gibson (18051), Grant (18053), Greene (18055), Hamilton (18057)*, Huntington (18069)*, Jackson (18071)*, Johnson (18081), Knox (18083), Kosciusko (18085), Lawrence (18093), Madison (18095), Marion (18097)*, Marshall (18099), Martin (18101), Miami (18103), Monroe (18105), Morgan (18109), Owen (18119), Parke (18121), Perry (18123), Pike (18125)*, Posey (18129)*, Pulaski (18131), Shelby (18145), Spencer (18147), Starke (18149), Sullivan (18153)*, Tippecanoe (18157), Vermillion (18165), Vigo (18167)*, Wabash (18169), Warren (18171), Wells (18179), White (18181)
KY Edmonson (21061)*, Livingston (21139), Logan (21141)*, Marshall (21157), Warren (21227)*
MO Butler (29023)*, Jasper (29097), Madison (29123), Newton (29145), Stoddard (29207)*, Wayne (29223)
MS Hinds (28049), Sunflower (28133), Tishomingo (28141), Warren (28149)
OH Adams (39001)*, Ashland (39005), Coshocton (39031), Defiance (39039)*, Delaware (39041)*, Fairfield (39045), Franklin (39049), Knox (39083), Madison (39097), Muskingum (39119), Pickaway (39129), Putnam (39137), Union (39159), Williams (39171)
TN Bedford (47003)*, DeKalb (47041)*, Hardin (47071), Hickman (47081), Humphreys (47085), Lawrence (47099), Lincoln (47103), Marshall (47117), Maury (47119), Perry (47135)*, Putnam (47141)*, Rutherford (47149), Sevier (47155)*, Smith (47159)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
04 St. Joseph (04100003)+, Upper Maumee (04100005)+*, Auglaize (04100007)+
05 Hocking (05030204)+, Mohican (05040002)+, Walhonding (05040003)+, Muskingum (05040004)+, Upper Scioto (05060001)+, Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+*, Upper Green (05110001)+*, Barren (05110002)+*, Upper Wabash (05120101)+, Salamonie (05120102)+*, Mississinewa (05120103)+, Eel (05120104)+, Middle Wabash-Deer (05120105)+, Tippecanoe (05120106)+, Wildcat (05120107)+, Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion (05120108)+, Vermilion (05120109)+*, Sugar (05120110)+, Middle Wabash-Busseron (05120111)+*, Lower Wabash (05120113)+, Upper White (05120201)+, Lower White (05120202)+, Driftwood (05120204)+, Flatrock-Haw (05120205)+*, Upper East Fork White (05120206)+, Lower East Fork White (05120208)+, Caney (05130108)+*, Stones (05130203)+, Red (05130206)+*, Lower Ohio-Little Pigeon (05140201)+
06 Lower French Broad (06010107)+*, Guntersville Lake (06030001)+*, Wheeler Lake (06030002)+, Upper Elk (06030003)+, Pickwick Lake (06030005)+, Bear (06030006)+, Lower Tennessee-Beech (06040001)+, Upper Duck (06040002)+, Lower Duck (06040003)+, Buffalo (06040004)+, Kentucky Lake (06040005)+, Lower Tennessee (06040006)+
08 Upper St. Francis (08020202)+, Lower St. Francis (08020203)+*, Big Sunflower (08030207)+, Lower Big Black (08060202)+
11 Spring (11070207)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A highly distinctive mussel with an elongate shell, rectangular in shape with pustules and chevron markings.
General Description: Bogan and Parmalee (1983, p 66-7) give the following description of the shells of subspecies CYLINDRICA and STRIGILLATA.

CYLINDRICA: "Beaks are moderately elevated; sculpture consists of a few irregular, strong ridges or coarse folds ending or continuing on the umbonal area as small tubercles. The posterior ridge is full and rounded, extending diagonally from the umbo to the posterior ventral margin while above there is a wide radial impression that may end in a slight sinus behind.

"The left valve has two low triangular, radially split pseudocardinal teeth and two long straight lateral teeth. The right valve has a single low triangular, deeply striated pseudocardinal tooth, often with a smaller elongated tubercular tooth on either side; the single lateral tooth is long and straight. The interdentum is either narrow or absent and the beak cavity is moderately deep. Nacre white and iridescent. The shell is much thinner posteriorly."

Oesch (1984, p 91) gives the following description of the animal. "Branchial opening moderately large with brownish-yellow tentacles; anal finely papillose; supra-anal briefly connected to anal by mantle edge; gills very long and narrow, outer more narrow anteriorly; inner laminae free from visceral mass; palpi long, narrow; connected one-third of their length antero-dorsad; color of soft parts peculiar, foot with orange background striped in black; visceral mass uniorange, mantles with black pigment especially along the margins at siphonal openings."

QUADRULA CYLINDRICA CYLINDRICA has been illustrated by Parmalee (1967) and Oesch (1984); STRIGILLATA by Bogan and Parmalee (1983).

Reproduction Comments: Through laboratory testing, Barnhart and Baird (2000) determined glochidial hosts for this species to be blacktail shiner (Cyprinella venusta). Watters et al. (2009) confirmed host ransformation on rainbow darter, Etheostoma caeruleum (8%) and striped shiner- Luxilus chrysocephalus (3%). Yeager and Neves (1986) subjectively aged (by counting external growth rings) the rough rabbitsfoot to 22 years, and Henley et al. (no date, p. 16) objectively aged (by thin-sectioning shells) a specimen at 63 years. Anthony et al. (2001) surmised that growth ring counts, however, may not be annual and that counts may actually be underestimating longevity by a factor of 3 to 10. This might mean that the some mussels (possibly including the rabbitsfoot) may live for centurie. Age at sexual maturity for the rabbitsfoot is 4 to 6 years for populations in the upper Arkansas, White, and Red River Systems (Fobian, 2007)

Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, CREEK, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient, Riffle
Habitat Comments: According to Gordon and Layzer (1989) the typical habitat for this species is small to medium rivers with moderate to swift currents, and in smaller streams it inhabits bars or gravel and cobble close to the fast current. Found in medium to large rivers in sand and gravel (Cummings and Mayer, 1992). It has been found in depths up to 3 m (Parmalee, 1967). Despite their streamlined appearance, specimens are more often found fully exposed lying on their sides on top of the substrate (Walters, pers. obs.).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: In order to effectively manage mussel species it is necessary to work out certain life history characteristics first. Because of their unusual life-cycle and dependence on fish for completion of that cycle, it is imperative that the host species for the rabbitsfoot be ascertained. Life history studies need to be done to identify age and size at sexual maturity, recruitment success, age class structure, and other important life history parameters. Research is needed to assess the success of watershed protection on mussel populations. Abundance and distribution of selected species needs to be monitored in order to ascertain how species abundanceOs change over time. From that we can assess what land-use changes, conservation practices, and physical/chemical parameters are correlated with, and possibly responsible for, the biological changes.
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. (2009); Cummings, K.S. (1998)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 12Feb1998

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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