Villosa amygdala - (I. Lea, 1843)
Florida Rainbow
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Villosa amygdala (I. Lea, 1843) (TSN 80203)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.119209
Element Code: IMBIV47010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Mollusks - Freshwater Mussels
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mollusca Bivalvia Unionoida Unionidae Villosa
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: Villosa amygdala
Taxonomic Comments: This species was considered a subspecies of Villosa vibex by Clench and Turner (1956). Despite its limited distribution, several nominal forms exist, a trait that is consistent for other species occupying peninsular Florida (e.g., Elliptio buckleyi and Uniomerus caroliniana).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 08Jan2014
Global Status Last Changed: 31Aug2000
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Despite a fairly limited global range, and deteriorating habitat and water quality throughout much of its range, this species seems to have a relatively broad range of tolerance to habitat types and environmental quality and is considered stable. Available habitats could be threatened (and destroyed from mussel's standpoint) by excessive water consumption by humans.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3 (31Aug2000)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Florida (S3)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern
American Fisheries Society Status: Currently Stable (01Jan1993)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 5000-20,000 square km (about 2000-8000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: A peninsular Florida endemic distributed from the St. Johns and Withlacoochee river systems southward to the Everglades. it is one of only a few unionids restricted to Florida (see Johnson, 1972).

Area of Occupancy: 501-12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Linear occupancy is 200-5000 km.

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: There are about 65 documented sites, all in Florida, in the following river systems: 35 St. Johns, 17 Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades, six Withlacoochee, two Hillsborough, and five Peace. Most occurrences date from the early 1960s. Johnson (1972) listed specimens from the Withlacoochee, Hillsborough, Kissimmee and Everglades (Kissimmee, Lake Okeechobee drainages), and St. Johns (St. Johns, Oklawaha, Julington Creek drainages) river systems. Some of the Gulf drainage and St. Johns system records may be discounted due to the similarity of appearance with some populations of the sympatric V. villosa (Wright, 1898).

Population Size: 10,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Twenty-two specimens were found at the GEXEMPSITE in an hour's effort in 1988. Generally not uncommon at most known sites. Museum lots from historic collections are fairly large. There is a lot of potential habitat in central Florida lakes, areas where current collecting efforts have been few. All of this suggests that the species is probably abundant overall.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Increased eutrophication, primarily from general suburban development/urban sprawl in middle St. Johns River/Tampa Bay areas, localized industrial, municipal, and residential pollution, and also from phosphate mining (Peace River basin); siltation from poorly conducted agricultural and possibly silvicultural activities, agricultural and possibly silvicultural runoff; general development (transportation projects, etc.). Urban sprawl, huge development projects, and widescale agriculture threaten additional habitat with increased nutrient runoff and habitat degradation, particularly in large central Florida lakes. Available habitats could be threatened (and destroyed from mussel's standpoint) by excessive water consumption by humans.

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: This species may be declining slightly, due to general habitat degradation in peninsular waters, particularly the natural basin lakes in central Florida. However, it appears to remain common in central Florida lakes (J. Brim Box, pers. comm.). It does appear, however, to be declining in the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades region (T. Gross, pers. comm.).

Long-term Trend: Decline of <50% to increase of <25%

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable to not intrinsically vulnerable.
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Freshwater mussels are inherently vulnerable to threats from siltation, pollution, eutrophication, channelization, impoundment, collection, drought and water withdrawal, competiton from invasive non-native mussels, and changes to larval host fish populations. Nonetheless, this species seems to be relatively tolerant of moderate siltation and habitat modifications, at least more so than many unionids.

Environmental Specificity: Moderate. Generalist or community with some key requirements scarce.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Determine status of extant populations, re-survey historic sites, and search for new ones by conducting intensive surveys in the numerous unsurveyed lakes and small streams in central Florida.

Protection Needs: Maintain high water and benthic habitat (substrate) qualities, as well as adequate flow regimes, throughout all occupied river systems. This may be partially accomplished via establishment of buffers and streamside management zones for all agricultural, silvicultural, mining, and developmental activities; protection of floodplain forests and adjoining upland habitat is paramount. Best management practices to follow include employing forestry practices that cause minimal soil erosion; preventing access of livestock to natural surface waters and drains; situating roads at least 0.25 mi. (0.4 km) from heads of all tributaries, even more on steep slopes; using silt fencing and vegetation to control runoff and siltation at all stream crossings, especially during construction and maintenance; using and maintaining sewer systems rather than septic tanks and stream-dumping for management of wastewater; and avoiding use of agricultural pesticides on porous soils near streams. Prevent damming, dredging, and pollution throughout drainages, but especially near recorded sites. Remove existing dams, but with great care to limit downstream sedimentation. Limit withdrawal of surface and subterranean waters as necessary to maintain normal stream flows, especially during drought. Prevent or limit establishment of invasive species (including zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha) to the extent possible. Where appropriate, protect populations through acquisitions and easements over streamside lands by working with government agencies and conservation organizations.

Distribution
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Global Range: (5000-20,000 square km (about 2000-8000 square miles)) A peninsular Florida endemic distributed from the St. Johns and Withlacoochee river systems southward to the Everglades. it is one of only a few unionids restricted to Florida (see Johnson, 1972).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single state or province

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States FL

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Orange (12095), Seminole (12117)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Upper St. Johns (03080101)+, Oklawaha (03080102), Lower St. Johns (03080103), Kissimmee (03090101), Northern Okeechobee Inflow (03090102), Western Okeechobee Inflow (03090103), Lake Okeechobee (03090201), Everglades (03090202), Peace (03100101), Charlotte Harbor (03100103), Alafia (03100204), Hillsborough (03100205), Tampa Bay (03100206), Crystal-Pithlachascotee (03100207), Withlacoochee (03100208)
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small, oval, greenish, sexually dimorphic freshwater mussel.
General Description: See Johnson (1972).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Oval outline, sexually dimorphic, greenish yellow or brown periostracum with narrow, sharp light green rays, fairly heavy, somewhat inflated shell, white nacre.
Reproduction Comments: Probably bradytictic (long-term brooder), as are other, more northern members of the genus. Gravidity records are available for specimens of lakes collected on 25 February, 19 May, and 3 July, all in 1988.
Ecology Comments: The total distribution and range of habitats very closely mimics that of the very successful ELLIPTIO BUCKLEYI (Lea, 1843).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Adults are essentially sessile. About the only voluntary movement they make is to burrow deeper into the substrate although some passive movement downstream may occur during high flows. Dispersal occurs while the glochidia are encysted on their host (probably a fish).
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, CREEK, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Pool, Riffle
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND
Habitat Comments: "Lives in mud or soft sand of rivers and lakes, particularly when rich in vegetable detritus" (Johnson 1972). "In mud or soft sand of streams of various sizes and current velocities, and in lakes" (Heard 1979). Generally inhabits large creeks to medium-sized rivers, lakes, Everglade marshes, as well as some artificial waters (e.g., canals, boat basins, possibly some impoundments).
Adult Food Habits: Detritivore
Immature Food Habits: Parasitic
Food Comments: Presumably fine particulate organic matter, primarily detritus, and/or zooplankton, and/or phytoplankton (Fuller, 1974). Larvae (glochidia) of freshwater mussels generally are parasitic on fish and there may be a specificity among some species.
Length: 6.5 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: Determine life history, reproductive biology, fecundity, sensitivity to moderate siltation, excessive nutrients, and pollutants; identify host fish, its requirements, and population status. Determination of viability of extant populations and microhabitat requirements have lower priority than the above.
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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Justification: Use the Generic Element Occurrence Rank Specifications (2008).
Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
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: 08Jan2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Jackson, D. R. (2014); Cordeiro, J. (2007); Butler, R.S. [1992 edition]; Brim Box, J. and C. O (2000)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 11Dec2007
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Cordeiro, J. (2007); BUTLER, R.S. (1992)

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Clench, W.J. and R.D. Turner. 1956. Freshwater mollusks of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida from the Escambia to the Suwanee River. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum Biological Sciences, 1(3): 97-239.

  • Fuller, S.L.H. 1974. Chapter 8: Clams and mussels (Mollusca: Bivalvia). Pages 215-273 in: C.W. Hart, Jr. and S.L.H. Fuller (eds.) Pollution Ecology of Freshwater Invertebrates. Academic Press: New York. 389 pp.

  • Heard, W.H. 1979. Identification manual of the fresh water clams of Florida. State of Florida, Department of Environmental Regulation, Technical Series, 4(2): 1-82.

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

  • 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., R. S. Butler, G. L. Warren, and N. A. Johnson.  2014a.  Freshwater Mussels of Florida.  University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 498 pp.

  • Williams, J.D., M.L. Warren, Jr., K.S. Cummings, J.L. Harris, and R.J. Neves. 1993b. Conservation status of freshwater mussels of the United States and Canada. Fisheries 18(9):6-22.

  • van der Schalie, H. 1940. The naiad fauna of the Chipola River in northwestern Florida. Lloydia 3(3):191-208.

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • Johnson, R.I. 1972a. The Unionidae (Mollusca: Bivalvia) of peninsular Florida. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum of Biological Science 16(4): 181-249.

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