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Lampsilis abrupta

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA MOLLUSCA BIVALVIA UNIONOIDA UNIONIDAE

Scientific Name: Lampsilis abrupta
Species Authority: (Say, 1831)
Common Name(s):
English Pink Mucket
Taxonomic Notes: Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri populations may represent another undescribed species (Stansbury pers. comm. 1993).

A list of synonyms for this species can be found on The MUSSEL project web site (Graf and Cummings 2011).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2ace ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-04-24
Assessor(s): Cummings, K. & Cordeiro, J.
Reviewer(s): Bohm, M., Seddon, M. & Collen, B.
Contributor(s): Dyer, E., Soulsby, A.-M., Whitton, F., Kasthala, G., McGuinness, S., Milligan, HT, De Silva, R., Herdson, R., Thorley, J., McMillan, K., Collins, A., Duncan, C., Offord, S. & Richman, N.
Justification:
Lampsillis abrupta has been assessed as Vulnerable as the overall range of this once very widespread species has diminished. However, this species was always considered rare whenever it was found and it seems to be surviving and reproducing in sections of river that have been altered by impoundments. More dramatic has been the decline in its area of occupancy (probably greater than 30%) as it continues to be found in historical sites but often only in very low numbers (suggesting that population declines of a similar magnitude have taken place). These declines have occurred over the last 25-50 years and therefore adequately represent three generation lengths of this species. Although currently known from a few dozen localities, most are represented by very few individuals and have poor viability. If populations west of the Mississippi River prove to be a different species, the conservation status will need to be reevaluated.
History:
1996 Endangered
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species has historically been considered as an Ohioan species in origin. It was formerly scattered throughout the Tennessee, Ohio and Cumberland river systems (USFWS 1985).

It was historically known from at least 25 river systems with a widespread distribution (USFWS 1985) (all rare and represented by few, if any, live individuals) including the Flint River, Alabama; Limestone Creek, Alabama; Duck River; Holston River; French Broad River; Cumberland River; Clinch River; Obey River; Ohio River; Allegheny River; Elk River, West Virginia; Kanawha River, West Virginia; Scioto River; Muskingum River; White River, Indiana; Wabash River, Indiana and Illinois; Ouachita River and Old River, Arkansas; Black River; Sac River, Missouri; and St. Francis River, Missouri (see USFWS 1985).

It is now extirpated in Ohio except possibly small parts of the Ohio River (Watters 1995, Matthews and Moseley 1990, Cummings and Mayer 1997), and is completely extirpated from Pennsylvania (Bogan 1993), New York (Strayer and Jirka 1997) and Illinois (Cummings and Mayer 1997), and possibly extinct in Virginia and Indiana (NatureServe 2009). Overall, its extent of occurrence is still in excess of 250,000 km2. It is possible that populations west of the Mississippi belong to a different species (NatureServe 2009).

This species has experienced an inferred 30% decrease in range (NatureServe 2009,  K. Cummings pers. comm. 2010), over a time period of between 25 and 50 years (J. Cordeiro pers. comm. 2012).
Countries:
Native:
United States (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois - Regionally Extinct, Indiana - Possibly Extinct, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New York - Regionally Extinct, Ohio, Pennsylvania - Regionally Extinct, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia - Possibly Extinct)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Matthews and Moseley (1990) reported 20 sites for this species. In Alabama, it currently is rare in riverine reaches downstream of Wilson and Guntersville Dams and a single gravid female is known from Bear Creek, Colbert County (Mirarchi et al. 2004). In Louisiana, Vidrine (1993) reports it from only Bayou Bartholemew. In Missouri it is found in the St. Francis River and the Sac River; with specimens from the mouth of the Bourbeuse River to the mouth of the Meramec River, with other populations (possibly historical) in the lower Big River, lower Meramec River, Little Black and lower Osage Rivers (Oesch 1995). In Tennessee, this species has been found living in the tailwaters of several dams, and there is a localized relict population in the Cumberland River, Smith Co., but all individuals appear very old. It is nearly gone from the upper and middle stretches of the Tennessee River with a stable population below Pickwick Landing Dam in Hardin Co. and populations in the Cumberland River are also localized while occasional individuals can be found in several small to medium-sized tributaries of large rivers including the Holston, French Broad, and upper Clinch Rivers (Parmalee and Bogan 1998). Tolin et al. (1987) report the upper free-flowing 3.5 miles of the Kanawha River and the mainstem of the Ohio River (at depth) at the West Virginia border. Taylor and Horn (1983) also included the Kanawha and Elk Rivers in West Virginia. In Arkansas, it is known from between river miles 50.5 and 161.5 of the Black River, the Ouachita River, White River (Christian 1995), and 18 km of the Spring River (Harris et al. 1997, Harris and Gordon 1987) In Kentucky, it is sporadic in the lower Ohio River to the Licking River (Cicerello and Schuster 2003).

This species was historically known from at least 25 river systems, but during the time the recovery plan (USFWS 1985) was drafted, sixteen different rivers supported populations and the most stable populations were considered to occur in the Tennessee, Cumberland, Osage, and Meramec Rivers; as well as potentially in the Kanawha River below Kanawha Falls in West Virginia. Populations appear stable but low in the Black, Ouachita, and Spring River, Arkansas (Harris et al. 1997). Most occurrences in Kentucky are represented by very few individuals where it occurs sporadically in the lower Ohio River to the Licking River (Cicerello and Schuster 2003). In Tennessee, it has all but disappeared from the upper and middle stretches of the Tennessee River and remaining populations in the Cumberland River tend to be localized and small (Parmalee and Bogan 1998). Fisher (2006) lists it as recently extirpated from the Wabash drainage in Indiana.

This species has never been collected in large numbers from any one site or drainage and was always considered rare (USFWS 1985). Most surveys only find one to five individuals. For example, Wilson and Clarke (1914) reported one to three specimens from each mussel bed they collected in the middle portion of the Cumberland River. Ortmann (1919) reported it rare in the Monongahela River (only one specimen found) and the Allegheny River (only a few specimens found) as well as a few dozen in clam heaps (from harvest) further down the Ohio River. Ortmann (1925) reported it as rarely occurring in the Tennessee River up to the lower Clinch River near Knoxville, Tennessee. Other historical occurrences (all rare and represented by few, if any, live individuals) include the Flint River, Alabama; Limestone Creek, Alabama; Duck River; Holston River; French Broad River; Cumberland River; Clinch River; Obey River; Ohio River; Allegheny River; Elk River, West Virginia; Kanawha River, West Virginia; Scioto River; Muskingum River; White River, Indiana; Wabash River, Indiana and Illinois; Ouachita River and Old River, Arkansas; Black River; Sac River, Missouri; and St. Francis River, Missouri (see USFWS 1985). More recently, low populations were found in three major drainages in Missouri. Rust (1993) encountered 31 live individuals from 19 of 48 aggregations in a 175 km reach of the Black River in Arkansas with maximum aggregation of five individuals (population estimate 500 ±102); and 11 specimens from 4 of 6 sites in 18 km of the Spring River in Arkansas with maximum aggregation of 5 (population estimate 121±24). Posey (1997) found 9 total specimens at 8 sites in the Ouachita River. Christian (1995) found a single specimen at 4 of 51 sites in the White River, Arkansas.

 This species has experienced an inferred 30% decrease in range and potentially population (NatureServe 2009, K. Cummings pers. comm. 2010), over a time period of between 25 and 50 years (J. Cordeiro pers. comm. 2012).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is characterized as a large river species (Dennis 1984) associated with fast-flowing waters, although in recent years it has been able to survive and reproduce in impoundments with river-lake conditions, but never in standing pools of water (USFWS 1985). It is found in waters with strong currents, rocky or boulder substrates, with depths up to about 1 m, but is also found in deeper waters with slower currents and sand and gravel substrates (Gordon and Layzer 1989, USFWS 1985). 
Direct life-history data are not available for this species. Freshwater mussels are highly variable in their longevity from species to species (e.g. Haag and Rypel 2011). Studies have shown longevity of Lampsilis species to range from 13 to 25 years (from populations of L. ornata, L. straminea and L. teres; Haag and Rypel 2011). Lampsilis ornata was found to mature at two years of age (Haag and Staton 2003). Assuming a similar longevity for Lampsilis abrupta, and conservatively assuming age of maturity to be somewhere between 2 and 9 years (average of 5-6 years; Haag and Staton 2003), we estimate a generation length (estimated as the average age of a parent in the population) of around eight to 17 years, with three generations spanning around 24 to 51 years. Since it has been suggested that growth ring counts may underestimate age by a factor of between three and ten (Anthony et al. 2001), we believe that the upper estimate (though still likely to be an underestimate) provides us with an adequate estimate of generation length for this species.
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is harvested as part of the commerical mussel harvest industry.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Known threats include modification of habitat (e.g., dams and dredging), degradation of water quality, and overharvesting by commercial mussel industry. Siltation, pollution, and channelization are also threats to this species.

More specifically, continued threats to the survival of this species include alteration or destruction of stream habitat due to impoundment for flood control, navigation, hydroelectric power, and recreation; siltation due to strip mining, coal washing, dredging, farming, logging, and road construction; and pollution from municipal, industrial, and agricultural waste discharges (USFWS 1985).

Despite extensive declines historically, the species appears to have adapted somewhat to existence in impounded sections of big rivers. Rarer occurrence of this species in smaller streams such as the Clinch River and Paint Rock River may result from sub-optimal habitat for this otherwise large river species (USFWS 1985).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species was listed as federally endangered in the U.S. in 1976 and a recovery plan was drafted (USFWS 1985). Recovery objectives include: (1) conduct population and habitat surveys, (2) preserve populations and present habitat, (3) develop education programs.

Williams et al. (2010) lists this species as threatened according to the American Fisheries Society (AFS) assessment. More research is needed into the population status of the species and monitoring is recommended. This species would benefit from effective and enforced protection measures, such as site and species protection. Since it is possible that populations west of the Mississippi belong to a different species (NatureServe 2009), taxonomic research is needed to clarify this, as this may have a bearing on the category assigned to this species.

Citation: Cummings, K. & Cordeiro, J. 2012. Lampsilis abrupta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 27 August 2014.
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