Overview

Comprehensive Description

Geukensia demissa is a member of the family Mytilidae. The surface of the shell is grooved or ribbed and oval in shape. The ribbed mussel has a narrow blunt pointed head that is attached to submerged substrata. Shells are usually glossy appearing olive-brown to brown-black with some yellow to a white on the outside and white on the interior with purplish tints.
  • ITIS Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Available online.
  • American Museum of Natural History, Bivalves- Research, Training, and Electronic Dissemination of Data. Available online.
  • Borrero FJ. 1987. Tidal height and gametogenesis: reproductive variation among populations of Geukensia demissa. Biological Bulletin 173:160-168.
  • Brousseau DJ. 1984. Age and growth rate determinations for the atlantic ribbed mussel, Geukensia demissa Dillwyn (Bivalvia: Mytilidae). Estuaries and Coasts 7:233-241
  • Coen LD, Knott DM, Wenner, Hadley NH, and AH Ringwood. 1999. Intertidal oyster reef studies in South Carolina: design, sampling and experimental focus for evaluating habitat value and function. Pages 131 156, In: MW Luckenbach, Mann R, and JA Wesson (eds.), Oyster Reef Habitat Restoration: A Synopsis and Synthesis of Approaches. Virginia Institute of Marine Science Press. Gloucester Point, Virginia.
  • Franz DR. 2001. Recruitment, survivorship, and age structure of a New York ribbed mussel population (Geukensia demissa) in relation to shore level - a nine year study. Estuaries 24:319-327.
  • Jost J and B Helmuth. 2007. Morphological and Ecological Determinants of Body Temperature of Geukensia demissa, the Atlantic Ribbed Mussel, and Their Effects On Mussel Mortality. Biological Bulletin 213:141-151.
  • Kreeger DA, Newell RIE, and CJ Langdon. 1990. Effect of tidal exposure on utilization of dietary lignocellulose by the ribbed mussel Geukensia demissa (Dillwyn) (Mollusca:Bivalvia). Journal Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 144:85-100.
  • Newell SY and C Krambeck. 1995. Responses of bacterioplankton to tidal inundations of a saltmarsh in a flume and adjacent mussel enclosures. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 190:79-95.
  • Riisgard HU. 1988. Efficiency of particle retention and filtration rate in 6 species of Northeast American bivalves. Marine Ecology Progress Series 45:217-223.
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Distribution

Gulf of St. Lawrence (unspecified region), northern Gaspe waters, southern Gaspe waters (Baie des Chaleurs, Gaspe Bay to American, Orphan and Bradelle banks; eastern boundary: eastern Bradelle Valley); Prince Edward Island (from the northern tip of Miscou Island, N.B. to Cape Breton Island south of Cheticamp, including the Northumberland Strait and Georges Bay to the Canso Strait causeway); Cobscook Bay
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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The ribbed mussel is native to the Atlantic coast of North America, from the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada to northeastern Florida and along the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Yucatan.

In the mid 1800s the ribbed mussel was introduced to San Francisco Bay, California, apparently by accident, included with live oysters shipped by trans-continental rail for cultivation in the Bay. Since then it has been found in other locations on the Pacific coast, from Alamitos Bay south to Anaheim Bay, Newport Bay, Bolsa Chica Lagoon and Estero de Punta Banda, Baja California Norte, Mexico. The locations may have been sites of unrecorded oyster transplants, or the mussels may have arrived after attaching to hulls or other mobile objects.

Biogeographic Regions: atlantic ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Introduced )

  • Brousseau, D. 1984. Age and growth rate determinations for the Atlantic ribbed mussel, Geukensia demissa Dillwyn (Bivalvia: Mytilidae). Estuaries, 7/3: 233-241.
  • Abbott, R. 1974. American Seashells. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
  • Blackwell, J., L. Gainey, Jr., J. Greenberg. 1977. Shell ultrastructure in two subspecies of the ribbed mussel, Geukensia demissa (Dillwyn, 1817). Biological Bulletin, 152: 1-11.
  • Cohen, A., J. Carlton. 1995. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species in a United States Estuary: A Case Study of the Biological Invasions of the San Francisco Bay and Delta. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Carlton, J. 1979. History, Biogeography, and Ecology of the Introduced Marine and Estuarine Invertebrates of the Pacific coast of North America. Davis, CA: Ph.D. Thesis, University of California.
  • Carlton, J. 1992. Introduced mairne and estuarine mollusks of North America: an end-of-the-20th-century perspective. Journal of Shellfish Research, 11: 489-505.
  • Chesapeake Bay Program, 2004. "Bay Field Guide" (On-line). Atlantic Ribbed Mussel. Accessed March 11, 2007 at http://www.chesapeakebay.net/ribbedmussel.htm.
  • Cohen, A. 2005. "Geukensia demissa" (On-line). Guide to the Exotic Species of San Francisco Bay. Accessed March 11, 2007 at www.exoticsguide.org.
  • Torchin, M., R. Hechinger, T. Huspeni, K. Whitney, K. Lafferty. 2005. The introduced ribbed mussel (Geukensia demissa) in Estero de Punta Banda, Mexico: interactions with the native cord grass, Spartina foliosa . Biological Invasions, 7: 607-614.
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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The ribbed mussel can be found along the Atlantic coast from the Gulf of Maine to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico (Franz 2001). It also reported from the San Francisco Bay on the West coast where it was introduced. Geukensia demissa occurs in the Indian River Lagoon.
  • ITIS Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Available online.
  • American Museum of Natural History, Bivalves- Research, Training, and Electronic Dissemination of Data. Available online.
  • Borrero FJ. 1987. Tidal height and gametogenesis: reproductive variation among populations of Geukensia demissa. Biological Bulletin 173:160-168.
  • Brousseau DJ. 1984. Age and growth rate determinations for the atlantic ribbed mussel, Geukensia demissa Dillwyn (Bivalvia: Mytilidae). Estuaries and Coasts 7:233-241
  • Coen LD, Knott DM, Wenner, Hadley NH, and AH Ringwood. 1999. Intertidal oyster reef studies in South Carolina: design, sampling and experimental focus for evaluating habitat value and function. Pages 131 156, In: MW Luckenbach, Mann R, and JA Wesson (eds.), Oyster Reef Habitat Restoration: A Synopsis and Synthesis of Approaches. Virginia Institute of Marine Science Press. Gloucester Point, Virginia.
  • Franz DR. 2001. Recruitment, survivorship, and age structure of a New York ribbed mussel population (Geukensia demissa) in relation to shore level - a nine year study. Estuaries 24:319-327.
  • Jost J and B Helmuth. 2007. Morphological and Ecological Determinants of Body Temperature of Geukensia demissa, the Atlantic Ribbed Mussel, and Their Effects On Mussel Mortality. Biological Bulletin 213:141-151.
  • Kreeger DA, Newell RIE, and CJ Langdon. 1990. Effect of tidal exposure on utilization of dietary lignocellulose by the ribbed mussel Geukensia demissa (Dillwyn) (Mollusca:Bivalvia). Journal Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 144:85-100.
  • Newell SY and C Krambeck. 1995. Responses of bacterioplankton to tidal inundations of a saltmarsh in a flume and adjacent mussel enclosures. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 190:79-95.
  • Riisgard HU. 1988. Efficiency of particle retention and filtration rate in 6 species of Northeast American bivalves. Marine Ecology Progress Series 45:217-223.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Physical Description

Morphology

Ribbed mussel are relatively large mussels. They range from 5 - 10 cm (4 inches) in length. The largest specimen recorded reached 13 cm. The shell is moderately thin and oblong or fan shaped. The upper margin is straight or slightly convex. The dorsal and ventral margins are parallel.

The periostracum (thin, glossy outer shell layer) is glossy, brownish black with some yellow to a bleached white color. It is grooved with pronounced, unbranched, radiating ribs, largest on the upper part of the hind end above a broad umbonal ridge, fine along lower margin. These give the species its common name. The inside of the shell is pearlescent, sometimes white or bluish-gray, tinged with purple/blue or purple/red at hind margin. There are no teeth at the hinge. At the head end of the shell there is no shelf on the inside.

In the summer, the color of the mantle varies between the sexes. In females the mantle tends to be a medium chocolate brown, in males is is lighter, a yellowish cream white color.

The broad umbo (hump at the center of the concentric growth lines) is a short distance behind the narrowed, rounded front end. The periostracum is often worn away around the umbo. There is no external siphon.

Like most bivalves, the species has a muscular "foot", capable of moving he animal slowly through sediment, . The foot can also secrete byssal threads -- hair-like adhesive filaments that help the mussel attach to grasses, nearby shells, or other solid objects.

One subspecies of Geukensia demissa is recognized. G. d. granosissima (Sowerby, 1914) ranges from the east and west coast of Florida to the Gulf of Mexico (Yucatan). It differs in the morphology of the shell (rib number) and ultrastructure.

Range length: 13 (high) cm.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes colored or patterned differently

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Size

Adult Geukensia demissa can live for more than 15 years and grow to nearly 10 cm in length. The age of the ribbed mussel can be determined by counting the annual growth ribs on the shell (Brousseau 1982). Juvenile mussels can mature when they reach 12 mm.
  • ITIS Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Available online.
  • American Museum of Natural History, Bivalves- Research, Training, and Electronic Dissemination of Data. Available online.
  • Borrero FJ. 1987. Tidal height and gametogenesis: reproductive variation among populations of Geukensia demissa. Biological Bulletin 173:160-168.
  • Brousseau DJ. 1984. Age and growth rate determinations for the atlantic ribbed mussel, Geukensia demissa Dillwyn (Bivalvia: Mytilidae). Estuaries and Coasts 7:233-241
  • Coen LD, Knott DM, Wenner, Hadley NH, and AH Ringwood. 1999. Intertidal oyster reef studies in South Carolina: design, sampling and experimental focus for evaluating habitat value and function. Pages 131 156, In: MW Luckenbach, Mann R, and JA Wesson (eds.), Oyster Reef Habitat Restoration: A Synopsis and Synthesis of Approaches. Virginia Institute of Marine Science Press. Gloucester Point, Virginia.
  • Franz DR. 2001. Recruitment, survivorship, and age structure of a New York ribbed mussel population (Geukensia demissa) in relation to shore level - a nine year study. Estuaries 24:319-327.
  • Jost J and B Helmuth. 2007. Morphological and Ecological Determinants of Body Temperature of Geukensia demissa, the Atlantic Ribbed Mussel, and Their Effects On Mussel Mortality. Biological Bulletin 213:141-151.
  • Kreeger DA, Newell RIE, and CJ Langdon. 1990. Effect of tidal exposure on utilization of dietary lignocellulose by the ribbed mussel Geukensia demissa (Dillwyn) (Mollusca:Bivalvia). Journal Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 144:85-100.
  • Newell SY and C Krambeck. 1995. Responses of bacterioplankton to tidal inundations of a saltmarsh in a flume and adjacent mussel enclosures. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 190:79-95.
  • Riisgard HU. 1988. Efficiency of particle retention and filtration rate in 6 species of Northeast American bivalves. Marine Ecology Progress Series 45:217-223.
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Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Ecology

Habitat

intertidal and infralittoral of the Gulf and estuary
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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The larvae of ribbed mussels settle on subtidal oyster reefs, in intertidal salt marshes and on man-made structures in these habitats. Sometimes they attach to one another in aggregations or to clumps of hollow grass stems (Spartina alterniflora) in low marshes. They are most abundant at the lowest shore levels within salt marshes and occur in small numbers in the high marsh zone above the average high water mark.

These mussels can tolerate water temperatures up to 133 degrees F (56°C) and and wide range of salinities, from near fresh water up to 70 ppt (twice the concentration of seawater).

Habitat Regions: saltwater or marine

Aquatic Biomes: benthic ; reef ; coastal ; brackish water

Wetlands: marsh

Other Habitat Features: estuarine ; intertidal or littoral

  • Kuenzler, E. 1961. Structure and energy flow of a mussel population in a Georgia salt marsh. Limnology and Oceanography, 6: 191-204.
  • Franz, D., J. Tanacredi. 1993. Variablility in growth and age structure amoung populations of ribbed mussels Geukensia demissa (Dillwyn)(Bivalivia; Mytilidae), in Jamaica Bay, New York (Gatewaya NRA). The Veliger, 36: 220-227.
  • Franz, D. 1997. Resource alloacation in the intertidal salt-marsh mussel Geukensia demissa in relation to shore level. Estuaries, 20: 134-148.
  • Franz, D. 1993. Allometry of shell and body weight in relation to shore level in the intertidal bivalve Geukensia demissa (Bivalvia: Mytilidae). Journal Experimental Marine Biology Ecology, 174: 193-207.
  • Bertness, M., E. Grosholz. 1985. Population dynamics of the ribbed mussel, Geukensia demissa: The costs and benefits of an aggregated distribution. Oecologia, 67: 192-204.
  • Lin, J. 1989. Influence of location in a salt marsh on survivorship of ribbed mussels. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 56: 105-110.
  • Coen, L., M. Luckenbach. 2000. Developing success criteria and goals for evaluating oyster reef restoration: ecological function or resource exploitation?. Ecological Engineering, 15: 323-343.
  • Luckenbach, C., L. Coen, P. Ross, Jr., J. Stephen. 2005. Oyster reef habitat restoration: Relationships between oyster abundance and community development based on two studies in Virginia and South Carolina. Journal of Coastal Research Special Issue, 40: 64-78.
  • Coen, L., K. Walters. 2005. "Ribbed mussels" (On-line). South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. Accessed March 11, 2007 at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/cwcs/pdf/Ribbedmussel%20.pdf.
  • Stiven, A., E. Kuenzler. 1979. The response of two salt marsh molluscs, Littorina irrorata and Geukensia demissa, to field manipulations of density and Spartina litter. Ecological Monographs, 49: 151-171.
  • Waite, J., D. Hansen, K. Little. 1989. The protein of ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa): a natural adhesive with some features of collagen. Journal of Comparative Physiology, 159/5: 517-25.
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Depth range based on 70 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 5 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 95
  Temperature range (°C): 6.870 - 23.797
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.534 - 10.831
  Salinity (PPS): 32.282 - 36.395
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.352 - 6.764
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.119 - 1.015
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.193 - 7.574

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 95

Temperature range (°C): 6.870 - 23.797

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.534 - 10.831

Salinity (PPS): 32.282 - 36.395

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.352 - 6.764

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.119 - 1.015

Silicate (umol/l): 1.193 - 7.574
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth range based on 13 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 4 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 1 - 57
  Temperature range (°C): 7.337 - 9.208
  Nitrate (umol/L): 3.829 - 4.585
  Salinity (PPS): 32.282 - 33.276
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.091 - 6.764
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.547 - 0.736
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.666 - 4.744

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 1 - 57

Temperature range (°C): 7.337 - 9.208

Nitrate (umol/L): 3.829 - 4.585

Salinity (PPS): 32.282 - 33.276

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.091 - 6.764

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.547 - 0.736

Silicate (umol/l): 2.666 - 4.744
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Trophic Strategy

When covered with water, the mussels opens and cilia on its gills draw water and food in. The ribbed mussel's primary diet consists of microscopic plankton and particles of detritus.

Animal Foods: zooplankton

Plant Foods: phytoplankton

Other Foods: detritus ; microbes

Foraging Behavior: filter-feeding

Primary Diet: planktivore ; detritivore

  • Wright, R., R. Coffin, C. Ersing, D. Pearson. 1982. Field and laboratory measurements of bivalve filtration of natural marine bacterioplankton. Limnology and Oceanography, 27: 91-98.
  • Newell, S., C. Krambeck. 1995. Responses of bacterioplankton to tidal inundations of a saltmarsh in a flume and adjacent mussel enclosures. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol., 190: 79-95.
  • Kemp, P., S. Newall, C. Krambeck. 1990. Effects of filter-feeding by the ribbed mussel Geukensia demissa on the water-column microbiota of Spartina alterniflora saltmarsh. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 50: 119-131.
  • Kreeger, D., C. Langdon, R. Newell. 1988. Utilization of refractory cellulosic carbon derived from Spartina alterniflora by the ribbed mussel Geukensia demissa . Marine Ecology Progress Series, 42: 171-179.
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Geukensia demissa are filter feeders that "pump" water over their gills where particles are either retained or passed into the digestive system. The ribbed mussel possesses large latero-frontal cirri that facilitate the retention of particles above 4 ¦#181; with a filtration rate measured in the laboratory to be 6.80 liters of seawater per hr (Riisgard 1988). Ribbed mussels are one of the few bivalves able to forage on small-sized bacterioplankton (Newell and Kambeck 1995, Kreeger et al. 1990).
  • ITIS Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Available online.
  • American Museum of Natural History, Bivalves- Research, Training, and Electronic Dissemination of Data. Available online.
  • Borrero FJ. 1987. Tidal height and gametogenesis: reproductive variation among populations of Geukensia demissa. Biological Bulletin 173:160-168.
  • Brousseau DJ. 1984. Age and growth rate determinations for the atlantic ribbed mussel, Geukensia demissa Dillwyn (Bivalvia: Mytilidae). Estuaries and Coasts 7:233-241
  • Coen LD, Knott DM, Wenner, Hadley NH, and AH Ringwood. 1999. Intertidal oyster reef studies in South Carolina: design, sampling and experimental focus for evaluating habitat value and function. Pages 131 156, In: MW Luckenbach, Mann R, and JA Wesson (eds.), Oyster Reef Habitat Restoration: A Synopsis and Synthesis of Approaches. Virginia Institute of Marine Science Press. Gloucester Point, Virginia.
  • Franz DR. 2001. Recruitment, survivorship, and age structure of a New York ribbed mussel population (Geukensia demissa) in relation to shore level - a nine year study. Estuaries 24:319-327.
  • Jost J and B Helmuth. 2007. Morphological and Ecological Determinants of Body Temperature of Geukensia demissa, the Atlantic Ribbed Mussel, and Their Effects On Mussel Mortality. Biological Bulletin 213:141-151.
  • Kreeger DA, Newell RIE, and CJ Langdon. 1990. Effect of tidal exposure on utilization of dietary lignocellulose by the ribbed mussel Geukensia demissa (Dillwyn) (Mollusca:Bivalvia). Journal Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 144:85-100.
  • Newell SY and C Krambeck. 1995. Responses of bacterioplankton to tidal inundations of a saltmarsh in a flume and adjacent mussel enclosures. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 190:79-95.
  • Riisgard HU. 1988. Efficiency of particle retention and filtration rate in 6 species of Northeast American bivalves. Marine Ecology Progress Series 45:217-223.
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Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Associations

Mussels are important in changing nutrient dynamics of marsh and estuary. They help cycle energy, phosphorous and nitrogen.

The ribbed mussel has a mutualistic relationship with marsh grass, Spartina alterniflora. Mussels attach to the base of the stem with their byssal threads. As a byproduct of their filter-feeding, they deposit fecal material on the surrounding sediment. This stimulates the grass to grow by increasing the soil nitrogen. Overall they increase marsh net primary production and stability.

Geukensia demissa is a host for the flatworm, Paravortex gemellipara.

Mutualist Species:

Commensal/Parasitic Species:

  • Bertness, M. 1984. Ribbed mussels and Spartina alterniflora production in a New England salt marsh. Ecology, 65/6: 1794-1807.
  • Kuenzler, E. 1961. Phosphorus budget of a mussel population. Limnology and Oceanography, 6: 400-415.
  • Jordan, T., I. Valiela. 1982. A nitrogen budget of the ribbed mussel, Geukensia demissa, and its significance in nitrogen flow in a New England salt marsh. Limnology and Oceanography, 27: 75-90.
  • Wardle, W. 1980. Occurrence of the symbiotic Rhabdocoele flatworm Paravortex gemellipara in Chesapeake Bay and Gulf of Mexico molluscs, with notes on its biology and geographic range. Estuaries, 3/2: 84-88.
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The primary defense of ribbed mussels is their shell. In their native range, their main predator is the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus). The mud crab Panopeus herbstii is also known to feed on them. Higher survivorship in mussels high in the intertidal zone suggest that marine predators are more important than terrestrial ones.

Shore birds, including clapper rails (Rallus longirostris), willets, and dunlins have been recorded feeding on them in San Francisco Bay (Cohen, 2005). One study found ribbed mussels to be more than half the prey (by volume) in stomachs of California clapper rails (Rallus longirostris obsoletus).

Some rails have been found to have ribbed mussels clamped to their toes, and others are found missing toes.

Known Predators:

  • Lin, J. 1990. Mud crab predation on ribbed mussels in salt marshes. Marine Biology, 107/1: 103-109.
  • Laughlin, R. 1982. Feeding habits of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus Rathbun, in the Apalachicola Estuary, Florida. Bulletin of Marine Science, 32: 807-822.
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Known predators

Modiolus demissus is prey of:
Urosalpinx cinerea
Neopanope texana sayi
Callinectes sapidus

Based on studies in:
USA: New Jersey (Brackish water)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • C. H. Peterson, The importance of predation and competition in organizing the intertidal epifaunal communities of Barnegat Inlet, New Jersey, Oecologia (Berlin) 39:1-24, from p. 8 (1979).
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Known prey organisms

Modiolus demissus preys on:
plankton
detritus

Based on studies in:
USA: New Jersey (Brackish water)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • C. H. Peterson, The importance of predation and competition in organizing the intertidal epifaunal communities of Barnegat Inlet, New Jersey, Oecologia (Berlin) 39:1-24, from p. 8 (1979).
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Population Biology

Geukensia demissa can be found among intertidal oyster reef clusters in numbers over 1,500 per m2 (Coen et al. 1999). Unlike oysters, ribbed mussels have the ability to reattach if dislodged, providing this species with more opportunities to respond to disturbance. Densities of 2000 up to 10,000 per m2 have been reported for this species in areas along the northern Atlantic coast.
  • ITIS Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Available online.
  • American Museum of Natural History, Bivalves- Research, Training, and Electronic Dissemination of Data. Available online.
  • Borrero FJ. 1987. Tidal height and gametogenesis: reproductive variation among populations of Geukensia demissa. Biological Bulletin 173:160-168.
  • Brousseau DJ. 1984. Age and growth rate determinations for the atlantic ribbed mussel, Geukensia demissa Dillwyn (Bivalvia: Mytilidae). Estuaries and Coasts 7:233-241
  • Coen LD, Knott DM, Wenner, Hadley NH, and AH Ringwood. 1999. Intertidal oyster reef studies in South Carolina: design, sampling and experimental focus for evaluating habitat value and function. Pages 131 156, In: MW Luckenbach, Mann R, and JA Wesson (eds.), Oyster Reef Habitat Restoration: A Synopsis and Synthesis of Approaches. Virginia Institute of Marine Science Press. Gloucester Point, Virginia.
  • Franz DR. 2001. Recruitment, survivorship, and age structure of a New York ribbed mussel population (Geukensia demissa) in relation to shore level - a nine year study. Estuaries 24:319-327.
  • Jost J and B Helmuth. 2007. Morphological and Ecological Determinants of Body Temperature of Geukensia demissa, the Atlantic Ribbed Mussel, and Their Effects On Mussel Mortality. Biological Bulletin 213:141-151.
  • Kreeger DA, Newell RIE, and CJ Langdon. 1990. Effect of tidal exposure on utilization of dietary lignocellulose by the ribbed mussel Geukensia demissa (Dillwyn) (Mollusca:Bivalvia). Journal Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 144:85-100.
  • Newell SY and C Krambeck. 1995. Responses of bacterioplankton to tidal inundations of a saltmarsh in a flume and adjacent mussel enclosures. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 190:79-95.
  • Riisgard HU. 1988. Efficiency of particle retention and filtration rate in 6 species of Northeast American bivalves. Marine Ecology Progress Series 45:217-223.
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication Channels: tactile ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; chemical

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Life Cycle

This species has a planktonic larval stage that allows for dispersal to distant locations. The larvae settle out of the water column and attach to oyster reefs, saltmarsh plants, and other solid objects in shallow or intertidal waters. They then transform into the sedentary shelled form. Subsequent growth rate and time to maturity is strongly determined by environmental conditions, including tidal exposure, temperature, and available food. Time to ma

Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis

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Life Expectancy

The age of ribbed mussels can be determined by back counting the annual growth ribs on the shell.

Mortality of plankton larvae is unknown. Mortality rates of juveniles in the year following settlement have been recorded to average about 55 % partially due to winter icing on the marsh.

Even though mussels are less abundant higher on shore, survivorship increases with increasing tidal height. Some reach 15 years or older. Mussels on the marsh edge tend to be around 6 or 7 years old.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
15 years.

  • Brousseau, D. 1982. Gametogenesis and spawning in a population of Geukensia demissa (Pelecypoda:Mytilidae) from Westport, Connecticut. Veliger, 24: 247-251.
  • Franz, D. 2001. Recruitment, survivorship, and age structure of a New York Ribbed Mussel population (Geukensia demissa) in relation to shore level - a nine year study. Estuaries, 24: 319-327.
  • Lutz, R., M. Castagna. 1980. Age composition and growth rate of a mussel (Geukensia demissa) population in a Virginia salt marsh. Journal Molluscan Studies, 46: 106-115.
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Reproduction

Ribbed mussels are broadcast spawners. At a particular time of year, individuals release eggs and sperm into the water, and fertilization occurs there.

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

Sexual maturation in this species is primarily determined by body weight, and this in turn is strongly influenced by the environment of individual mussels. Along the edge of the marsh, mussels usually become sexually mature during their second growing season. The minimum size for gametogenesis is around 12 mm. The average size for the sexually mature ribbed mussel is greater than 20 mm. A few meters from the edge of the marsh, the minimum size increases to about 17 mm. Higher up on shore, it is not uncommon to see mussels greater than 35 mm that do not show any external characteristics of gametogenesis. Mussels that are farther from the marsh edge tend to grow slower as a result of shorter submergence and feeding time, which can delay maturation an additional year compared to the mussels along the edge of the marsh.

The ribbed mussel spawns by external fertilization, sperm and eggs are released into the water column.

Gametogenesis begins in early spring and peaks in June and July. Maximum reproduction occurs between June and August, depending on location, and larvae can be found into early fall.

Breeding interval: It is unknown how many times they spawn during one summer, but it is thought to be only one time.

Breeding season: in the summer months

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (External ); broadcast (group) spawning

There is practically no parental investment in this species -- eggs do not receive substantial provisioning, and there is no interaction with offspring after gametes are released.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement

  • Franz, D. 1997. Resource alloacation in the intertidal salt-marsh mussel Geukensia demissa in relation to shore level. Estuaries, 20: 134-148.
  • Borrero, F., T. Hilbish. 1988. Temporal variation in shell and soft tissue growth of the mussel Geukensia demissa. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 42: 9-15.
  • Borrero, F. 1987. Tidal height and gametogenesis: reproduction variation among population of Geukensia demissa. Biological Bulletin, 173: 160-168.
  • Chesapeake Bay Program, 2004. "Bay Field Guide" (On-line). Atlantic Ribbed Mussel. Accessed March 11, 2007 at http://www.chesapeakebay.net/ribbedmussel.htm.
  • Cohen, A. 2005. "Geukensia demissa" (On-line). Guide to the Exotic Species of San Francisco Bay. Accessed March 11, 2007 at www.exoticsguide.org.
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Ribbed mussels have separate sexes and the sex can be determined by the color of the mantle. Females tend to be a medium brown whereas males are a yellowish-cream color. There is usually one annual spawn that occurs between June and September depending upon the region (Borrero 1987).
  • ITIS Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Available online.
  • American Museum of Natural History, Bivalves- Research, Training, and Electronic Dissemination of Data. Available online.
  • Borrero FJ. 1987. Tidal height and gametogenesis: reproductive variation among populations of Geukensia demissa. Biological Bulletin 173:160-168.
  • Brousseau DJ. 1984. Age and growth rate determinations for the atlantic ribbed mussel, Geukensia demissa Dillwyn (Bivalvia: Mytilidae). Estuaries and Coasts 7:233-241
  • Coen LD, Knott DM, Wenner, Hadley NH, and AH Ringwood. 1999. Intertidal oyster reef studies in South Carolina: design, sampling and experimental focus for evaluating habitat value and function. Pages 131 156, In: MW Luckenbach, Mann R, and JA Wesson (eds.), Oyster Reef Habitat Restoration: A Synopsis and Synthesis of Approaches. Virginia Institute of Marine Science Press. Gloucester Point, Virginia.
  • Franz DR. 2001. Recruitment, survivorship, and age structure of a New York ribbed mussel population (Geukensia demissa) in relation to shore level - a nine year study. Estuaries 24:319-327.
  • Jost J and B Helmuth. 2007. Morphological and Ecological Determinants of Body Temperature of Geukensia demissa, the Atlantic Ribbed Mussel, and Their Effects On Mussel Mortality. Biological Bulletin 213:141-151.
  • Kreeger DA, Newell RIE, and CJ Langdon. 1990. Effect of tidal exposure on utilization of dietary lignocellulose by the ribbed mussel Geukensia demissa (Dillwyn) (Mollusca:Bivalvia). Journal Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 144:85-100.
  • Newell SY and C Krambeck. 1995. Responses of bacterioplankton to tidal inundations of a saltmarsh in a flume and adjacent mussel enclosures. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 190:79-95.
  • Riisgard HU. 1988. Efficiency of particle retention and filtration rate in 6 species of Northeast American bivalves. Marine Ecology Progress Series 45:217-223.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Geukensia demissa

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


There are 90 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CATGCATTAATTATAATTTTTTTTGCTGTTATACCCTTATTGATTGGAGCTTTTGGTAATTGATTAATTCCATTG---TTTTTGGGGGCTATAGACTTGGTTTTCCCGCGAATTAATAATTTCAGATTTTGAATTTTACCTAGTGCTTTATATTTATTATTATTATCCGGTTATGTGGAAGACGGTGTGGGAGCAGGTTGAACTATTTATCCTCCTCTTTCTAGTTATTCTTTTCATAGTTCTCCTGCTATGGATTTG---GCTATTTTGTCTTTACATTTAGCTGGTAGAGGGTCATTAATGGGGGCTGTTAATTTTTTGACTTCTAATAAAAATTTGCCTGTAGAAGGGATAAAAGGTGAGCGTTCAGTGCTGTATGTTTGAAGAATCAGAGTAACAGCTTTCTTGTTGCTATTGCCTTTGCCTGTTTTAGCCGGC---GGTATCACTATATTATTATTTGATCGAAATTTTAATACAACTTTTTTTGATCCT------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ATT
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Geukensia demissa

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 87
Specimens with Barcodes: 87
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

This species is not rare, and not considered in need of special conservation effort.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

There should be no low tide collection of mussels. Mussels retain the pollution inside when their shells are closed. This can cause humans to become sick if eaten.

The high abundance and biomass of Geukensia demissa in Pacific coast wetlands (where it is not native) is a concern for conservation of these threatened habitats.

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These mussels help maintain saltmarshes, which are important nurseries for food fish and shellfish. Ribbed mussels can also be very useful bioindicators for pollution assessment studies.

The mussel is also an important prey species for desirable shellfish and bird species.

Ribbed mussels are edible, but are generally not considered to taste good. They can accumulate toxins from their environment, especially while exposed at low tide, and so should not be harvested then.

Positive Impacts: research and education

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Wikipedia

Geukensia demissa

Geukensia demissa is a species of mussel, a marine bivalve mollusk in the family Mytilidae, the true mussels. This species is native to the Atlantic coast of North America. The common names for this species include ribbed mussel, Atlantic ribbed marsh mussel and ribbed horsemussel.[1] However, the common name ribbed mussel is also used for the Southern Hemisphere mussel Aulacomya atra. The appearance of the shell is grooved and oval in shape. The interior of this mussel is tinted purple

The ribbed shells of this species usually attain a length of 10 cm length, and can be as large as 13 cm.[1]

Distribution[edit]

The ribbed mussel occurs in the coastal waters of salt marsh habitats from the Gulf of St. Lawrence in eastern Canada south along the western Atlantic coast to Florida. In the Gulf of Mexico this species is replaced by the southern ribbed mussel, Geukensia granosissima

The ribbed mussel has been introduced to Texas, Mexico, California, and Venezuela.[1]

Habitat[edit]

Ribbed mussels live in the intertidal zone, attached to hard surfaces or embedded in sediment with the help of their byssal threads. They are often found in saltwater and estuarine marshes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Geukensia demissa (mollusc) Global Invasive Species Database.


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