Lampsilis cariosa 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Mollusca Bivalvia Unionoida Unionidae

Scientific Name: Lampsilis cariosa (Say, 1817)
Common Name(s):
English Yellow Lampmussel
Taxonomic Notes: Synonyms = Unio cariosa Say, 1817; Unio crocatus Lea, 1841.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2bc ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2015-06-19
Assessor(s): Bogan, A.E. & Woolnough, D.
Reviewer(s): Seddon, M.B. & Ormes, M.
This species has a large geographic range in eastern North America, from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick south to Georgia in the Atlantic drainages, and westward to Ontario in the St. Lawrence River system. It has a disjunct distribution with various population losses reported throughout the range. It is listed Vulnerable because, although the precise area of occupancy (AOO) is not known and precise extent of decline is not known with accuracy, the loss of historical sites is indicative of a significant decline in area of occupancy (more than 30%) over the past three generations.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species has a large geographic range in eastern North America, from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick south to Georgia in the Atlantic drainages, and westward to Ontario in the St. Lawrence River system. However, this wide range is represented by several disjunct populations and some sites have problematic identifications. Despite the wide geographical distribution, the species has contracted its range in most of the southern states, with many local extinctions. It is estimated that its AOO has declined by as much as 50% (J. Cordeiro pers. comm. 2011).
Countries occurrence:
Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia); United States (Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is in decline nearly everywhere it occurs and most subpopulations consist of few individuals. The largest subpopulations are probably in the St. Lawrence basin in northern New York and the Saint John River in New Brunswick. Estimates of the best site in the Saint John River in New Brunswick approach 2 million individuals; and 2.5 million for the entire Sydney River in Nova Scotia (Sabine et al. 2004). Since 2004, a new population was found at Pottle Lake in Nova Scotia (COSEWIC 2013).

However surveys in the Pee Dee River drainage in South Carolina found the species at only 11 sites, all with low numbers of individuals (maximum of 11) (Catena Group 2006). It also occurs in the Broad River in Columbia South Carolina (Eads et al. 2015).

A 2012 survey of the Umadilla River in New York found 41 live and 140 dead individuals (Zemken et al. 2013). Other surveys in the Umadilla drainage (in 2011) found this species in at least one other river in the drainage, but also noted that there had been at least two major losses of pearly mussels in the drainage basin in the previous two years, estimated at tens of thousands of individuals (Lord and Pokorny 2012). Strayer and Malcolm (2013) did not find it in the Hudson River Estuary, although it still occurred there in the late 1990s and was once considered common.

In Pennsylvania, a survey of the West Branch of the Susquehanna in Milton found 903 individuals; Lampsilis cariosa was the most dominant species averaging 0.59 mussels per m² with a maximum of 1.93 mussels per m².

In a study of genetic variation within and among populations in the northern part of the range, Kelly and Rhymer (2005) significant differences likely due to low effective population sizes indicating populations achieved drift‑migration equilibrium rapidly following glaciation 8,000‑10,000 years ago (populations exhibited significant isolation by distance).

The mean and maximum ages of this species in Sydney River are 8 and 17 years, respectively, with times for generation of 24 years average and 52 years maximum (White 2003 in COSEWIC 2013).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Yellow Lampmussel is considered to be a species of larger streams and and medium to large rivers, typically found in sand and gravel where good current exists (Johnson 1970). It prefers hard water and a stable low gradient, but stream size is probably the most important factor (>1,200 km²) (Cordeiro pers. comm. 2011). It has also been reported (primarily historically) from ponds in northern portions of range, but generally prefers flowing water.
Generation Length (years):8

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Although unionid species were used for pearl and button industries it is likely that L. cariosa was not a species used because of locality and thinner shell (Cordeiro pers. comm., 2011).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): High to medium threat impacts include pollution from industrial and military effluents, agriculture, energy production (e.g. new oil pipeline with potential for spills/leaks), and invasive and other problematic species, which for fish are able to swim up or downstream of their introduction (COSEWIC 2013). All threats have been scored including possible threats from climate warming impacting water temperatures which could affect reproductive success.

IUCN Threats Calculator performed for this species for COSEWIC 2013 (in Appendix).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species has a COSEWIC status of Special Concern in Canada (COSEWIC 2013).  In New York, is it considered a Species of Greatest Conservation Need. In Pennsylvania, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a study to determine if the re-introduction of American eels could improve water quality and mussel populations. Researchers began stocking American eels at five sites in Buffalo Creek in Union County between June 2009 and August 2012 ; surveys in 2012 found only one mussel species and surveys in 2013 found five species, including Lampsilis cariosa (Reese et al. 2014).

Citation: Bogan, A.E. & Woolnough, D. 2017. Lampsilis cariosa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T11254A69490464. . Downloaded on 22 May 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided