Overview

Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) The range of this species includes the entire Mississippi River drainage, from New York and Pennsylvania west to the Dakotas, and south to eastern Texas and Louisiana and Alabama (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998).

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Geographic Range

The pimpleback is found throughout the Mississippi drainage through mid-Michigan and into Lake Erie. Its range extends from central New York west to southeastern North Dakota, south to eastern Texas and east through northern Mississippi.

In Michigan this species is found in the Grand and Saginaw drainages and in rivers in southern Michigan's lower peninsula. It has also been recorded from Saginaw Bay.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

  • Burch, J. 1975. Freshwater unionacean clams (Mollusca: Pelecypoda) of North America. Hamburg, Michigan: Malacological Publications.
  • Oesch, R. 1984. Missouri naiades, a guide to the mussels of Missouri. Jefferson City, Missouri: Missouri Department of Conservation.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

The pimpleback is up to 10.2 cm (4 inches) long , and rounded. The shell is usually fairly thick, heavy and compressed to moderately inflated. The   anterior end is rounded, the posterior end straight and somewhat truncated. The dorsal margin is straight and short and the ventral margin is rounded.

Umbos are raised above the hinge line. The beak sculpture has three to four rounded ridges.

The anterior half of the periostracum (outer shell layer) is smooth and two-thirds of the posterior half are covered with pustules or bumps. The shell is yellow-brown to light brown. Younger specimens have a broken green ray present extending from the umbo to the ventral margin.

On the inner shell, the   left valve has two pseudocardinal teeth, which are erect, large, and striated. The two lateral teeth are short to slightly curved and striated. The right valve has one large, grooved, erect triangular pseudocardinal tooth. The area between the pseudocardinal and lateral tooth, the interdentum, is broad.

The beak cavity is deep. The nacre is white and iridescent at the posterior end.

In Michigan, this species can be confused with the purple wartyback and maple leaf. The maple leaf is more quadrate and lacks the green ray. The purple wartyback has a dorsal wing and purple nacre.

Range length: 10.2 (high) cm.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat Type: Freshwater

Comments: This species has generalized habitat preferences and can maintain abundant and viable populations in shallow to deep sections of large reservoirs as well as in small to medium-sized free-flowing rivers. It is usually found in a substrate consisting of coarse gravel, sand, and silt (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998).

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Quadrula pustulosa is found in medium to large rivers and large lakes. Substrates where it is found range from mud, sand, and/or gravel.

Habitat Regions: freshwater

Aquatic Biomes: rivers and streams

  • Watters, G. 1995. A guide to the freshwater mussels of Ohio. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
  • Cummings, K., C. Mayer. 1992. Field guide to freshwater mussels of the Midwest. Champaign, Illinois: Illinois Natural History Survey Manual 5. Accessed August 25, 2005 at http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/cbd/collections/mollusk/fieldguide.html.
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Depth range based on 1 specimen in 1 taxon.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 27 - 27
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

In general, unionids are filter feeders. The mussels use cilia to pump water into the   incurrent siphon where food is caught in a mucus lining in the demibranchs. Particles are sorted by the   labial palps and then directed to the mouth. Mussels have been cultured on algae, but they may also ingest bacteria, protozoans and other organic particles.

The parasitic glochidial stage absorbs blood and nutrients from hosts after attachment. Mantle cells within the glochidia feed off of the host’s tissue through phagocytocis.

Plant Foods: algae; phytoplankton

Other Foods: detritus ; microbes

Foraging Behavior: filter-feeding

Primary Diet: planktivore ; detritivore

  • Meglitsch, P., F. Schram. 1991. Invertebrate Zoology, Third Edition. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.
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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Fish hosts are determined by looking at both lab metamorphosis and natural infestations. Looking at both is necessary, as lab transformations from glochidia to juvenile may occur, but the mussel may not actually infect a particular species in a natural situation. Natural infestations may also be found, but glochidia will attach to almost any fish, including those that are not suitable hosts. Lab transformations involve isolating one particular fish species and introducing glochidia either into the fish tank or directly inoculating the fish gills with glochidia. Tanks are monitored and if juveniles are later found the fish species is considered a suitable host.

Glochidial metamorphosis and natural infestations of Quadrula pustulosa have been observed for the black bullhead, channel catfish, and flathead catfish.

Glochidial metamorphosis has also been observed with the brown bullhead.

Ecosystem Impact: parasite

Species Used as Host:

  • Coker, R., F. Shira, H. Clark, A. Howard. 1921. Natural history and propagation of fresh-water mussels. Bull. Bur. Fish., 37: 77-181.
  • Howard, A. 1914. Experiments in propagation of fresh-water mussels of the Quadrula group. Rep. of the U.S. Commissioner of Fisheries for 1913, Appendix 4: 1-52.
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Predation

Unionids in general are preyed upon by muskrats, raccoons, minks, otters, and some birds. Juveniles are probably also fed upon by freshwater drum, sheepshead, lake sturgeon, spotted suckers, redhorses, and pumpkinseeds.

Unionid mortality and reproduction is affected by unionicolid mites and monogenic trematodes feeding on gill and mantle tissue. Parasitic chironomid larvae may destroy up to half the mussel gill.

Known Predators:

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: > 300

Comments: In Minnesota, it is widespread and common in the St. Croix drainage and Mississippi River below St. Anthony Falls; uncommon to rare in the Minnesota River (Sietman, 2003). It is widespread and abundant in S Wisconsin in large rivers and part of NE (Mathiak, 1979). It is in the Kalamazoo (Mulcrone and Mehlne, 2001), Lake Michigan and St. Croix/Detroit drainage in Michigan (Strayer, 1980; Badra and Goforth, 2003). In Illinois, it is in most drainages; locally abundant (Cummings and Mayer, 1997; Schanzle and Cummings, 1991); Fox in Illinois and Wisconsin (Schanzle et al., 2004), Rock (Tiemann et al., 2005). Indiana distribution: Tippecanoe (Cummings and Berlocher, 1990), E Fork White (Harmon, 1992), Muscatatuck (Harmon, 1989), St. Joseph, St. Mary's and Maumee (Pryor, 2005). In Ohio, it is widespread except Great Miami (Watters, 1992; 1995; Hoggarth et al., 2007; Watters et al., 2009). In West Virginia, it is in the Upper Ohio/Kanawha (Zeto et al., 1987; Morris and Taylor, 1992). In Mississippi, it is in the Mississippi River N and S, Big Black, Yazoo, and Tennessee drainages (Jones et al., 2005). In Louisiana, it is common and widely distributed in the Mississippi River and tributaries (Vidrine, 1993). It was found in Ouachita (Posey, 1997), St. Francis (Ahlstedt and Jenkinson, 1991), Poteau (Vaughn and Spooner, 2004), Cache and White Rivers, Arkansas (Christian, 1995; Christian et al., 2005; Gordon, 1982; Gordon et al., 1994); and lower Arkansas (Gordon, 1985). In North Carolina, it is questionable (extirpated?) because Lea described U. pernodosus from North Carolina and Ortmann (1918) considers it a possible synonym (Bogan, 2002). Oklahoma: Poteau River, Lake Texoma, Illinois and Mountain Fork (Spooner and Vaughn, 2007) rivers, Spring (Branson, 1966), Red, Washita, Blue, Boggy, Kiamichi, Little (Vaughn and Taylor, 1999), Arkansas, Verdigris (Boeckman and Bidwell, 2008), Neosho, Poteau and Chikaskia rivers, and Cache Creek, Chikaskia River, and "Oklahoma City" (Branson, 1982; Vaughn, 2000). In Texas, it is in the Brazos River into the N and E but as mortoni (valid species?) (Howells et al., 1996); indicating actual pustulosa in only far E Texas. Subspecies mortoni was found across Village Creek drainage (Hardin, Tyler, Polk Cos.) (Bordelon and Harrel, 2004). In Kansas, it is in all drainages in the eastern third (Couch, 1997; Tiemann, 2006); incl. Spring (Branson, 1966). In the Little Blue River basin it is as weathered shells in Nebraska and one recent shell in Kansas (Hoke, 2004). In the Big Blue system of SE Nebraska and NE Kansas it was relatively common in Nebraska and rare in creeks in the E Nebraska reaches of the Little Blue basin, shells in Kansas portion in poor condition with only one live individual (Hoke, 2005). It is in the James River, South Dakota (Perkins and Backlund, 2003) with dead shells in the Big Sioux (Skadsen and Perkins, 2000). In Tennessee, it is in the majority of medium to large rivers throughout the state, from the Hatchie River in W Tennessee to the upper Clinch, Powell, Holston, and Nolichucky Rivers in E Tennessee (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998). In Alabama, it is common and restricted to the Tennessee River system (Mirarchi, 2004) across N Alabama including tributaries (Elk, Paint Rock Rivers, Bear Creek- McGregor and Garner, 2004) (Ahlstedt, 1996; Williams et al., 2008). It has been collected in Kentucky in the Middle Green (Gordon, 1991), South Fork Kentucky (Evans, 2008) and Barren Rivers (Cochran and Layzer, 1993), but is generally distributed statewide (Cicerello and Schuster, 2003). In Canada, this species has a limited distribution in Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Niagara River, and the lower reaches of the Grand, Thames, and Sydenham Rivers in southwestern Ontario (Metcalfe-Smith and Cudmore-Vokey, 2004; Metcalfe-Smith et al., 2003).

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Global Abundance

>1,000,000 individuals

Comments: During surveys of the Village Creek drainage of Hardin, Tyler, and Polk Cos. in southeast Texas in 2001-2002, the subspecies mortoni was found in 20 sites (of 22 surveyed) (712 spms.) (Bordelon and Harrel, 2004).

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

The middle lobe of the mantle edge has most of a bivalve's sensory organs. Paired   statocysts, which are fluid filled chambers with a solid granule or pellet (a statolity) are in the mussel's foot. The statocysts help the mussel with georeception, or orientation.

Mussels are heterothermic, and therefore are sensitive and responsive to temperature.

Unionids in general may have some form of chemical reception to recognize fish hosts. How the pimpleback attracts and/or recognizes its fish hosts is unknown.

Glochidia respond to both touch, light and some chemical cues. In general, when touched or a fluid is introduced, they will respond by clamping shut.

Communication Channels: chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; vibrations ; chemical

  • Brusca, R., G. Brusca. 2003. Invertebrates. Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates, Inc..
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Life Cycle

Development

The pimpleback's fertilized eggs are brooded in the marsupia (water tubes) up to 2 months, where they develop into larvae, called glochidia. The glochidia are then released into the water where they must attach to the gill filaments and/or general body surface of the host fish. After attachment, epithelial tissue from the host fish grows over and encapsulates the glochidium, usually within a few hours. The glochidia then metamorphoses into a juvenile mussel within a few days or weeks. After metamorphosis, the juvenile is sloughed off as a free-living organism. Juveniles are found in the substrate where they develop into adults.

Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis

  • Arey, L. 1921. An experimental study on glochidia and the factors underlying encystment. J. Exp. Zool., 33: 463-499.
  • Lefevre, G., W. Curtis. 1910. Reproduction and parasitism in the Unionidae. J. Expt. Biol., 9: 79-115.
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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

The age of mussels can be determined by looking at annual rings on the shell. However, no demographic data on this species has been recorded.

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Reproduction

Infestation by glochidia has been confirmed (though transformation not tested) on Ictalurus punctatus (channel catfish) (Weiss and Layzer, 1995); with historical hosts listed as Ameiurus melas (black bullhead), Ameiurus nebulosus (brown bullhead), Pomoxis annularis (white crappie), Pylodictis olivaris (flathead catfish), and Scaphirhynchus platorynchus (shovelnose sturgeon) (Coker et al., 1921; Wilson, 1916; Howard, 1913; 1914; Surber, 1913; Howard and Anson, 1922).

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Age to sexual maturity for this species is unknown. In general, gametogenesis in unionids is initiated by increasing water temperatures. The general   life cycle of a unionid, includes open fertilization. Males release sperm into the water, which is taken in by the females through their respiratory current. The eggs are fertilized in the suprabranchial chambers, then pass into water tubes of the gills, where they develop into larvae, called glochidia.

Quadrula pustulosa is a short-term brooder, and was recorded as gravid in Michigan from mid-May to mid-July. It likely breeds in early May.

Breeding interval: The pimpleback breeds once, probably in spring.

Breeding season: In Michigan, the breeding season is probably in early to mid-May.

Range gestation period: 2 (high) months.

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous

Females brood fertilized eggs in their marsupial pouch. The fertilized eggs develop into glochidia. There is no parental investment after the female releases the glochidia.

Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female)

  • van der Schalie, H. 1938. The naiad fauna of the Huron River, in southeastern Michigan. Miscellaneous Publications of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, 40: 1-83.
  • Watters, G. 1995. A guide to the freshwater mussels of Ohio. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
  • Lefevre, G., W. Curtis. 1912. Experiments in the artificial propagation of fresh-water mussels. Proc. Internat. Fishery Congress, Washington. Bull. Bur. Fisheries, 28: 617-626.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Quadrula pustulosa

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Quadrula pustulosa

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: This is a widespread and common species in North America with stable populations throughout its range with the exception of perhaps the northeastern occurrences from New York to West Virginia.

Environmental Specificity: Broad. Generalist or community with all key requirements common.

Comments: This species has generalized habitat preferences and can maintain abundant and viable populations in shallow to deep sections of large reservoirs as well as in small to medium-sized free-flowing rivers. It is usually found in a substrate consisting of coarse gravel, sand, and silt (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998).

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Quadrula pustulosa is listed as threatened in Virginia.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: This species is extirpated from North Carolina where it formerly occurred in Tennessee River drainages (LeGrand et al., 2006).

Global Long Term Trend: Increase of 10-25% to decline of 30%

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Management

Global Protection: Few to many (1-40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

Comments: In southeastern Kansas, this species is protected from commercial harvest in the Verdigris River Freshwater Mussel Refuge (Miller, 1993).

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no significant negative impacts of mussels on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Mussels are ecological indicators. Their presence in a water body usually indicates good water quality.

Because of its thick and sturdy shell, Quadrula pustulosa is harvested for use by the pearl industry. The shell is sliced and then ground into beads (called "slugs") which are placed in pearl producing oysters. The oysters secrete a nacre over the slugs. The finished pearl has a nucleus of freshwater mussel shell and an outer layer from the saltwater oyster.

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Wikipedia

Quadrula pustulosa

Quadrula pustulosa, common name the Pimpleback, is a species of freshwater mussel, an aquatic bivalve mollusk in the family Unionidae, the river mussels.

See also

References

  1. ^ IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 5 November 2008.



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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: In a study of molecular phylogeny of the genus Quadrula, sequence data from the ND1 gene portion did not resolve relationships among populations of Quadrula aurea and Quadrula pustulosa and additional data will be necessary to test the validity of these taxonomic entities (Serb et al., 2003). Also, Quadrula mortoni, previously reduced to a subspecies of Quadrula pustulosa (Turgeon et al., 1998), is likely a valid species.

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