Toxolasma corvunculus - (I. Lea, 1868)
Southern Purple Lilliput
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Toxolasma corvunculus (I. Lea, 1868) (TSN 80360)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.107419
Element Code: IMBIV43010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Mollusks - Freshwater Mussels
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mollusca Bivalvia Unionoida Unionidae Toxolasma
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 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: Toxolasma corvunculus
Taxonomic Comments: Despite historical confusion of shells of this species with Toxolasma parvus in the Black Warrior and Tombigbee systems, Campbell and Harris (2006) tentatively found this species to be distinct. The type locality for this species was reported differently at different times by Isaac Lea causing Williams et al. (2008) to list this species as Toxolasma corvunculus of Authors, non Lea, 1868.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 19May2009
Global Status Last Changed: 04May2004
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: The species is little known and is easily confused with other related species. Lack of recent records may be the result of poor taxonomy among previous workers or it may indicate trouble for the species. It may also have been overlooked due to its small size. What is known is that it may still persist in an unnamed Coosa River tributary in Georgia and the upper Sipsey Fork in northern Alabama but not reported for several years. As such, this species is very rare within its limited range.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (04May2004)

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), Georgia (S1?)

Other Statuses

American Fisheries Society Status: Undetermined (01Jan1993)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 100-250 square km (about 40-100 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range presumably is still relatively widespread with the Mobile River system of Alabama and Georgia but current distribution is poorly known as this species is seldom encountered and has not been reported for several years (Mirarchi et al., 2004). It may now occur in very small, localized populations. Toxolasma corvunculus was described from Swamp Creek, Whitfield County, Georgia. It was reported from Western Georgia; Village Creek, Jefferson County, Alabama; Coosa and Cahaba systems in Alabama (Mirarchi et al., 2004); and Lake Ashby, Florida (Simpson, 1900); however this last locality is far removed from the typical range of the species and is considered suspect. In the Coosa River basin in Georgia, it is known historically from the Coosa, Oostanaula, and Conasauga River drainages but has not been collected there recently (Williams and Hughes, 1998). Its current range is unknown, although according to recent conservation assessment, it may still persist in Georgia in a Coosa River tributary and upper Sispey Fork in Alabama but status of range is uncertain (Brett Albanese, GA DNR, pers. com. 2004). McGregor et al. (2000) reported Toxolasma ref. corvunculus from the Cahaba River in Alabama. Records for Cherokee Co., Oklahoma, are questionable, at best, because although cited by Isely (1924), Branson (1982; 1983; 1984) does not include this species in the mussel fauna of Oklahoma. Blalock-Herod et al. (2005) consider Toxolasma from the Choctowhatchee River drainage of Alabama and Florida to be undescribed and this was supported by further study (see Campbell and Harris, 2006).

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

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species may still be in an unnamed Coosa River tributary in Georgia, Coosa and Cahaba basins in Alabama, and upper Sispey Fork system in northern Alabama in small localized populations (Mirarchi et al., 2004; Williams et al., 2008), but it has not been reported for several years. Its current range is unknown, although according to recent conservation assessment, it may still persist in Georgia in a Coosa River tributary and upper Sispey Fork in Alabama but status of range is uncertain (Brett Albanese, GA DNR, pers. com. 2004). McGregor et al. (2000) reported Toxolasma ref. corvunculus from the Cahaba River in Alabama. Campbell and Harris (2006) utilized specimens from the Lower Tallapoosa drainage in their systematics study of Alabama unionids. Haag and Warren (2008) documented a single live specimen in Bankhead National Forest in the Sipsey Fork in Alabama. Reports by Isley (1924) are false (J. Kelly, OK NHP, pers. comm., 2010).

Population Size: Unknown
Population Size Comments: Absence of recent records for this species make this determination impossible with the current knowledge (J. D. Williams, pers. comm. 10/10/1997).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: None to very few (0-3)

Overall Threat Impact: Unknown

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-50%
Short-term Trend Comments: Although still somewhat widespread in the Mobile River basin, it has not been seen in several years and presumably only exists in small, localized populations Limited distribution, rarity, an dreduction of quality habitat make the species susceptible to extinction (Mirarchi, 2004).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-70%

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Unknown

Environmental Specificity: Unknown

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Survey historic sites and other potential sites with the historic range to determine the status of this poorly known and possibly lost species.

Distribution
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Global Range: (100-250 square km (about 40-100 square miles)) Range presumably is still relatively widespread with the Mobile River system of Alabama and Georgia but current distribution is poorly known as this species is seldom encountered and has not been reported for several years (Mirarchi et al., 2004). It may now occur in very small, localized populations. Toxolasma corvunculus was described from Swamp Creek, Whitfield County, Georgia. It was reported from Western Georgia; Village Creek, Jefferson County, Alabama; Coosa and Cahaba systems in Alabama (Mirarchi et al., 2004); and Lake Ashby, Florida (Simpson, 1900); however this last locality is far removed from the typical range of the species and is considered suspect. In the Coosa River basin in Georgia, it is known historically from the Coosa, Oostanaula, and Conasauga River drainages but has not been collected there recently (Williams and Hughes, 1998). Its current range is unknown, although according to recent conservation assessment, it may still persist in Georgia in a Coosa River tributary and upper Sispey Fork in Alabama but status of range is uncertain (Brett Albanese, GA DNR, pers. com. 2004). McGregor et al. (2000) reported Toxolasma ref. corvunculus from the Cahaba River in Alabama. Records for Cherokee Co., Oklahoma, are questionable, at best, because although cited by Isely (1924), Branson (1982; 1983; 1984) does not include this species in the mussel fauna of Oklahoma. Blalock-Herod et al. (2005) consider Toxolasma from the Choctowhatchee River drainage of Alabama and Florida to be undescribed and this was supported by further study (see Campbell and Harris, 2006).

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

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
OK Cherokee (40021), Wagoner (40145)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Conasauga (03150101)*, Oostanaula (03150103)*, Upper Coosa (03150105)*, Middle Coosa (03150106), Lower Coosa (03150107), Lower Tallapoosa (03150110), Upper Alabama (03150201)*, Cahaba (03150202), Middle Tombigbee-Lubbub (03160106)*, Sipsey (03160107), Mulberry (03160109), Sipsey Fork (03160110), Locust (03160111)*, Upper Black Warrior (03160112)
11 Lower Neosho (11070209)+, Illinois (11110103)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed (based on multiple information sources) Help
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small freshwater mussel or bivalve mollusk which is elongate and elliptical in shape. The outer shell is black.
Diagnostic Characteristics: TOXOLASMA CORVUNCULUS resembles TOXOLASMA GLANS (=LIVIDUS) and TOXOLASMA PAULUS. T. CORVUNCULUS has a dark periostracum and deep purple nacre. T. PAULUS has dark periostracum and white nacre. T. LIVIDUS has a dark periostracum and a lighter purple nacre (Lea, 1868). The species was probably reported by (Hurd, 1974) as T. GLANS.
Reproduction Comments: The glochidial host is not known.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, High gradient, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Lack of recent records for this species hinder the evaluation of habitat requirements (J. D. Williams, pers. comm. 10/10/1997). Mirarchi et al. (2004) lists habitat as creeks and rivers, usually found in sand or silt substrata in areas exposed to variable flows.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: 1. Perform genetic analysis comparing this species with T. PARVUS, T. LIVIDUS (=GLANS), T. PAULUS, and T. CYLINDRELLUS. 2. Determine spawning period and describe glochidia 3. Determine fish host(s).
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
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  • Branson, B.A. 1982. The mussels (Unionacea: Bivalvia) of Oklahoma - Part I - Ambleminae. Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, 67: 38-45.

  • Branson, B.A. 1983. The mussels (Unionacea: Bivalvia) of Oklahoma - Part II: the Unioninae, Pleurobemini, and Anodontini. Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, 63: 49-59

  • Branson, B.A. 1984. The mussels (Unionacea: Bivalvia) of Oklahoma- Part 3: Lampsilini. Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, 64: 20-36.

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

  • Hurd, J.C. 1974. Systematics and zoogeography of the Unionacean mollusks of the Coosa River drainage of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Auburn University. Ph.D. dissertation. 240 pp., 10 tables, 6 fig., + 63 maps.

  • Isely, F.B. 1924. The fresh water-mussel fauna of eastern Oklahoma. Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, 4: 43-118.

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

  • Moyle, P. and J. Bacon. 1969. Distribution and abundance of molluscs in a fresh water environment. Journal of the Minnesota Academy of Science 35(2/3):82-85.

  • 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, 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.

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • 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.

  • Haag, W.R. and M.L. Warren, Jr. 2008. Effect of severe drought on freshwater mussel assemblages. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 137(4):1165-1178.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Simpson, C.T. 1900. Synopsis of the naiades, or pearly freshwater mussels. Proceedings of the United States National Museum, 22(1205): 501-1044.

  • 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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