Pseudodontoideus connasaugaensis - (I. Lea, 1858)
Alabama Creekmussel
Synonym(s): Strophitus connasaugaensis (I. Lea, 1858)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Strophitus alabamensis Lea (TSN 80155) ;Strophitus connasaugaensis (I. Lea, 1858) (TSN 80156)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.120730
Element Code: IMBIV42010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Mollusks - Freshwater Mussels
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mollusca Bivalvia Unionoida Unionidae Pseudodontoideus
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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: Strophitus connasaugaensis
Taxonomic Comments: Smith et al. (2018) transfer Strophitus connasaugaensis to Pseudodontoideus. In an unpublished study of molecular systematics, Campbell and Harris (2006) found this species was closely related to but distinct from Strophitus subvexus. Williams et al. (2008) confined S. subvexus to the Tombigbee and Black Warrior River drainages and S. connasaugensis to eastern drainages of the Mobile Basin, however individuals resembling S. subvexus can sometimes be found in eastern reaches of the Mobile basin and individuals resembling S. connasaugaensis can occasionally be found in the Black Warrior and Tombigbee River drainages.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 19May2009
Global Status Last Changed: 25Nov1996
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This Mobile River endemic appears to be restricted to eastern reaches; and is extant in widely scattered, isolated locations with minor declines on the edge of its narrow range.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3 (25Nov1996)

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 (S3), Georgia (S1), Mississippi (S1), Tennessee (S1)

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: This is a Mobile River and Alabama River endemic, including the Conasauga River in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia, where it appears to be restricted to eastern reaches; and is extant in widely scattered, isolated locations (Mirarchi et al., 2004; Simpson, 1914; Parmalee and Bogan, 1998). In the Coosa River basin in Georgia, it is known historically from the Coosa, Etowah, Oostanaula, and Conasauga River drainages (Williams and Hughes, 1998). According to Parmalee and Bogan (1998), it just barely gets over the border in Tennessee in the Conasauga River in Polk Co. It also occurs in the Tombigbee River drainage, Mississippi (Jones et al., 2005). Williams et al. (2008) confined the distribution of Strophitus connasaugaensis to eastern drainages of the Mobile Basin, and that of Strophitus subvexus to the Tombigbee and Black Warrior River drainages, however, individuals of each species may be found within the range of the other so it is unclear if the two species occur sympatrically or not.

Area of Occupancy: 126-2,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Johnson (1967- as Strophitus subvexus) cites the Coosa River drainage: Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee; Tallapoosa River drainage: Alabama; and Alabama River drainage: Alabama. In the Coosa River basin in Georgia, it is known historically from the Coosa, Etowah, Oostanaula, and Conasauga River drainages (Williams and Hughes, 1998- listed as Strophitus subvexus). This species was recently reported from the Conasauga River inside and adjacent to the Cherokee and Chattahoochee National Forests, Polk and Bradley Cos., Tennessee (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998); the Conasauga River in a very small portion of extreme north/northwest Georgia, as well as Holly Creek, adjacent to the Chattahoochee National Forest, Murray Co., Georgia (Johnson et al., 2005). Jones et al. (2005) cite it as extant, although a concern species, in the Tombigbee River drainage in Mississippi. Johnson and Ahlstedt (2005) located specimens in 2005 in the Luxapallila drainage on the Mississippi/Alabama border. In Alabama it is a Mobile basin endemic restricted to the eastern reaches in widely scattered, isolated localities (Mirarchi et al., 2004) particularly in the Alabama, Cahaba, Coosa and lower Tallapoosa River drainages (Williams et al., 2008). McGregor et al. (1999) documented it in Oakmulgee Creek, the Alabama River drainage, Alabama. Gangloff (2003) stated it was most often found at shallow to moderate depths and low flow velocities in upper Alabama drainages. It was most abundant in Cheha and Shoal creeks in the Choccolocco sub-basin. Strophitus connasaugaensis populations in these streams appear to be recruiting and were locally abundant (>20 mussels per 50 m). In other tributaries (e.g., Hatchet and Terrapin creeks, Muddy Prong) relatively few, old individuals were found (Gangloff, 2003).

Population Size: Unknown

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown
Viability/Integrity Comments: The species has only been collected periodically in the Conasauga River in Tennessee (Polk Co.) but appears uncommon to rare now (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998).

Overall Threat Impact: Unknown

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: Some local declines have occurred at the edge of the range of this species and, coupled with its narrow range, this amounts to some concern over its status in the near future. Also, many of the existing occurrences are scattered and isolated from one another. It can be locally abundant in some Mobile tributaries. It is believed to be common in the Connasauga and Black Warrior drainages but not collected in recent surveys of the Cahaba Drainage (McGregor et al., 2000; Evans, 2001). The species is likely extirpated from a number of Coosa tributaries in Alabama including Cowan's, Spring, Waxahatchee, Yellowleaf, Shoal, and Little Canoe creeks and the Chattooga River. Abundance has declined substantially in Hatchet Creek over the last 30 years.

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

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: This species is locally widespread, but isolated; in small, widely scattered populations (Mirarchi et al., 2004).

Environmental Specificity: Moderate. Generalist or community with some key requirements scarce.
Environmental Specificity Comments: This is a small to medium sized river species that inhabits shallow embayments of larger rivers. It is most often found in substrates composed of fine gravel, sand, and silt, typically in stretches with soem current in less than two feet of water (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)) This is a Mobile River and Alabama River endemic, including the Conasauga River in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia, where it appears to be restricted to eastern reaches; and is extant in widely scattered, isolated locations (Mirarchi et al., 2004; Simpson, 1914; Parmalee and Bogan, 1998). In the Coosa River basin in Georgia, it is known historically from the Coosa, Etowah, Oostanaula, and Conasauga River drainages (Williams and Hughes, 1998). According to Parmalee and Bogan (1998), it just barely gets over the border in Tennessee in the Conasauga River in Polk Co. It also occurs in the Tombigbee River drainage, Mississippi (Jones et al., 2005). Williams et al. (2008) confined the distribution of Strophitus connasaugaensis to eastern drainages of the Mobile Basin, and that of Strophitus subvexus to the Tombigbee and Black Warrior River drainages, however, individuals of each species may be found within the range of the other so it is unclear if the two species occur sympatrically or not.

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, TN

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Calhoun (01015), Clay (01027), Cleburne (01029), Macon (01087), Talladega (01121)
GA Gilmer (13123), Murray (13213), Whitfield (13313)
MS Lowndes (28087)
TN Bradley (47011), Polk (47139)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Upper Chattahoochee (03130001)*, Conasauga (03150101)+, Coosawattee (03150102)+, Oostanaula (03150103), Etowah (03150104), Upper Coosa (03150105)+, Middle Coosa (03150106)+, Lower Coosa (03150107)+, Upper Tallapoosa (03150108), Lower Tallapoosa (03150110)+, Upper Alabama (03150201)*, Cahaba (03150202), Middle Alabama (03150203), Lower Alabama (03150204)*, Upper Tombigbee (03160101), Luxapallila (03160105)+, Middle Tombigbee-Lubbub (03160106), Sipsey Fork (03160110), Upper Black Warrior (03160112)
+ 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: The glochidial host is not known.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, Moderate gradient
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: This is a small to medium sized river species that inhabits shallow embayments of larger rivers. It is most often found in substrates composed of fine gravel, sand, and silt, typically in stretches with soem current in less than two feet of water (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998).
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: 19May2009
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cordeiro, J.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 06Mar2007
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
  • Campbell, D. and P. Harris. 2006. Report on molecular systematics of poorly-known freshwater mollusks of Alabama. Report to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Montgomery, Alabama. 34 pp.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Golder Associates Inc. 2001. Biological assessment of a cooling water intake/outfall on Yellow Creek, Lowndes County, Mississippi. 3730 Chamblee Tucker Road, Atlanta, GA. 770-496-1893.

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

  • Johnson, P.D., C. St. Aubin, and S.A. Ahlstedt. 2005. Freshwater mussel survey results for the Cherokee and Chattahoochee districts of the United States Forest Service in Tennessee and Georgia. Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Daphne, Alabama. 32 pp.

  • Jones, Bob. 2001. List of mussel collections from Yellow Creek, Lowndes County, Mississippi. Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, Biological Collections, 10 pp.

  • Lefevre, G. and W.T. Curtis. 1912. Studies on the reproduction and artificial propogation of fresh-water mussels. Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries 30:102-201.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • Parmalee, P.W. and A.E. Bogan. 1998. The freshwater mussels of Tennessee. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, Tennesee. 328 pp.

  • Simpson, C.T. 1914. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Naiades or Pearly Fresh-water Mussels. Bryant Walker: Detroit, Michigan. 1540 pp.

  • Smith, C. H., N. A. Johnson, J. M. Pfeiffer, and M. M. Gangloff. 2018. Molecular and morphological data reveal non-monophyly and speciation in imperiled freshwater mussels (Anodontoides and Strophitus). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 119:50-62.

  • Smith, Chase H., Nathan A. Johnson, John M. Pfeiffer, and Michael M. Gangloff. 2018. Molecular and morphological data reveal non-monophyly and speciation in imperiled freshwater mussels (Anodontoides and Strophitus). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 119:50-62.

  • Smith, Chase, Nathan Johnson, John Pfeiffer and Michael Gangloff. 2018. Molecular and morphological data reveal non-monophyly and speciation in imperiled freshwater mussels (Anodontoides and Strophitus). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 119(2018) 50-62
     

  • 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, R. S. Butler, K. S. Cummings, J. T. Garner, J. L. Harris, N. A. Johnson, and G. T. Watters. 2017. A revised list of the freshwater mussels (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Unionida) of the United States and Canada. Freshwater Mollusk Biology and Conservation 20:33-58.

  • 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., 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, James, Arthur Bogan, and Jeffrey Garner. 2008. Freshwater Mussels of Alabama and the Mobile Basin in Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, AL. pp 908

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • Biological Resources Division, USGS. 1997. Database of museum records of aquatic species. Compiled by J. Williams (USGS-BRD, Gainesville, FL).

  • 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.

  • Mirarchi, R.E., J.T. Garner, M.F. Mettee, and P.E. O'Neil. 2004b. Alabama wildlife. Volume 2. Imperiled aquatic mollusks and fishes. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. xii + 255 pp.

  • 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., 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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