Villosa umbrans - (I. Lea, 1857)
Coosa Creekshell
Synonym(s): Leaunio umbrans (Lea, 1857)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Villosa vanuxemensis umbrans (I. Lea, 1857) (TSN 80215)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.111623
Element Code: IMBIV47152
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 vanuxemensis umbrans
Taxonomic Comments: Villosa umbrans is considered a subspecies of Villosa vanuxemensis by many authors. In this database, we are following Williams et al. (2008, 2017) in recognizing Villosa umbrans as a full species. This recognition is based on preliminary genetic analysis showing that V. umbrans of the Mobile Basin and V. vanuxemensis of the Cumberland and Tennessee River drainage are distinct species (W.R. Haag, pers. comm., in Williams et al., 2008). Watters (2018) limits true Villosa to the extreme southeastern United States and places this species in the new genus Leaunio, here maintained as a synonym.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 21May2009
Global Status Last Changed: 25Nov1996
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Although once fairly widespread, this species is now thought to persist only in a few tributarires in uppermost reaches of the Coosa Rvier system, primarily in Georgia but a few sites in Alabama (Mirarchi et al., 2004). McGregor et al. (2000) reported it absent from the Cahaba River, Alabama.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2 (03Jun2005)

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 (S2), Georgia (S2), Tennessee (S2)

Other Statuses

American Fisheries Society Status: Special Concern (01Jan1993)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 100-250 square km (about 40-100 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: It is endemic to the Coosa River drainage above the Fall Line in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee (Williams et al., 2008). Although once fairly widespread, now thought to persist only in a few tributarires in uppermost reaches of system, primarily in Georgia (Mirarchi et al., 2004). McGregor et al. (2000) reported it absent from the Cahaba River, Alabama.

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: May be extant in a few tributaries of Coosa River in Alabama in small isolated populations (Williams et al., 2008), better in Georgia. Appears in decline distribution wide (Mirarchi et al., 2004). In the Coosa River basin in Georgia, it is known historically from the Coosa, Etowah, Oostanaula, Conasauga, and Coosawattee River drainages (Williams and Hughes, 1998). In Tennessee, it is endemic to the upper Coosa River system occurring in the Conasauga River of the Coosa River basin in Polk Co. (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998). This species was recently reported from the Conasauga River inside and adjacent to the Cherokee and Chattahoochee National Forests, Polk and Bradley Cos., Tennessee, and Murray/Whitfield Cos., Georgia; as well as Holly Creek, adjacent to the Chattahoochee National Forest, Murray Co., Georgia (Johnson et al., 2005).

Population Size: Unknown

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown

Short-term Trend: Decline of 50-70%
Short-term Trend Comments: Endemic to the upper Coosa River system. Although once fairly widespread, now thought to persist only in a few tributarires in uppermost reaches of system, primarily in Georgia (Mirarchi et al., 2004)

Long-term Trend: Decline of 70-90%
Long-term Trend Comments: Endemic to the upper Coosa River system. Although once fairly widespread, now thought to persist only in a few tributarires in uppermost reaches of system, primarily in Georgia (Mirarchi et al., 2004)

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Declining distribution wide and specific habitat requirements (small riffles in shaol and riffles) (Mirarchi et al., 2004).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (100-250 square km (about 40-100 square miles)) It is endemic to the Coosa River drainage above the Fall Line in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee (Williams et al., 2008). Although once fairly widespread, now thought to persist only in a few tributarires in uppermost reaches of system, primarily in Georgia (Mirarchi et al., 2004). McGregor et al. (2000) reported it absent from the Cahaba River, Alabama.

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, TN

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Calhoun (01015), Clay (01027), Cleburne (01029), Talladega (01121)
GA Bartow (13015), Chattooga (13055), Cherokee (13057), Floyd (13115), Gordon (13129), Haralson (13143), Murray (13213), Polk (13233), Walker (13295), Whitfield (13313)
TN Polk (47139)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Conasauga (03150101)+, Coosawattee (03150102)+, Oostanaula (03150103)+, Etowah (03150104)+, Upper Coosa (03150105)+, Middle Coosa (03150106)+, Lower Coosa (03150107)+, Upper Tallapoosa (03150108)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Diagnostic Characteristics: It closely resembles Villosa lienosa but usually has a thinner shell and lighter periostracum with more prominent green rays posteriorly. The nacre of V. umbrans is usually coppery purple. V. lienosa nacre is usually various shades of purple but is not coppery. V. umbrans superficially resembles Villosa nebulosa but has rays that are uninterrupted and mostly confined to the posterior part of the shell. V. nebulosa usually has interrupted rays that are more numerous and wider, covering a greater portion of the shell. The nacre of V. umbrans is usually coppery purple, but the nacre of V. nebulosa is typically white. V. umbrans superficially resembles Villosa vibex but has a narrower posterior margin and less prominent rays. V. umbrans has thicker pseudocardinal teeth and coppery purple nacre. The nacre of V. vibex is always white or bluish white. V. umbrans superficially resembles Anodontoides radiatus, however, A. radiatus usually has rays across the shell disk, whereas V. umbrans has rays more prominent on the posterior half. Pseudocardinal teeth and lateral teeth of A. radiatus are rudimentary or absent, but are well-developed in V. umbrans. Small V. umbrans may also resemble Toxolasma corvunculus, but V. umbrans is longer and less inflated than similar-sized T. corvunculus. The periostracum of T. corvunculus is often greener than that of V. umbrans. Live V. umbrans may be distinguished by the presence of papillate mantle folds just ventral to the incurrent aperture. The folds are replaced by caruncles in T. corvunculus. These structures are rudimentary in males. Shells of V. umbrans tend to be lighter in color than those of Villosa vanuxemensis, but there is some overlap (Williams et al., 2008).
Reproduction Comments: It is a long-term brooder, gravid from September through May or June of the following summer (Gangloff, 2003). It utilizes species of Lepomis and Cottus as glochidial hosts. Host use varies among individuals and populations with some using either Lepomis or Cottus and some using both (W.R. Haag and P.D. Johnson, pers. comm., in Williams et al., 2008).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: It is primarily a species of small creeks to medium rivers. However, there are a few records from the Coosa River proper prior to its impoundment. It is found in a mixture of sand, gravel, and cobble substrates in moderate current (Williams et al., 2008).
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: 21May2009
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cordeiro, J.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 21May2009
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
  • Center for Biological Diversity. 2010. Petition to list 404 aquatic, riparian and wetland species from the southeastern United States as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Petition submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  • HERRIG, JIM. 2002. CHEROKEE NATIONAL FOREST THREATENED, ENDANGERED AND SENSITIVE SPECIES LIST (TES), 9/16/02 UPDATE. USDA FOREST SERVICE, 10 PP.

  • Haag, W.R. 2012. North American Freshwater Mussels: natural history, ecology, and conservation. Cambridge University Press, New York, New York. 505 pp.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2011m. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; partial 90-day finding on a petition to list 404 species in the southeastern United States as endangered or threatened. Federal Register 76(187):59836-59862.

  • Watters, G. T. 2018. A preliminary review of the nominal genus Villosa of freshwater mussels (Bivalvia, Unionidae) in North America. Visaya, Supplement (10). 140 pp.

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

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

  • Williams, James D., Arthur Bogan, Robert Butler, Kevin Cummings, Jeffrey Garner, John Harris, Nathan Johnson and G.Thomas 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, 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
  • 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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