Westralunio carteri


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Westralunio carteri
Species Authority: Iredalei, 1944
Common Name(s):
English Carter’s Freshwater Mussel

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2011-07-22
Assessor(s): Köhler, F.
Reviewer(s): Böhm, M. & Collen, B.
Contributor(s): Dyer, E., Soulsby, A.-M., Whitton, F., McGuinness, S., De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Kasthala, G., Herdson, R., Thorley, J., McMillan, K. & Collins, A.
Westralunio carteri has been assessed as Least Concern as it is widespread in Western Australia, is a habitat generalist, and is resistant to organic pollution. Although previously assessed as Vulnerable (under version 2.3 of the Red List) under the revised Categories and Criteria this species no longer qualifies for a threatened listing. However, W. carteri is highly sensitive to salinization and both its populations and habitats should be monitored to ensure future declines (such as that observed in the Avon River) are spotted early.
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Western Australia, and is known from the Avon, Blackwood and Canning Rivers (Williams et al. 1991, Bennet-Chambers et al. 1999, Kay et al. 2001). In the Blackwood River, it is recorded as far as Bridgetown, beyond which salinity levels are too high for this species (Williams et al. 1991).
Australia (Western Australia)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species declined in the Avon River at increased salinities (Kendrick 1976 in Kay et al. 2001), eventually being replaced by the brackish mussel Anticorbula amara (Williams 1987). However, it is widespread and abundant elsewhere in Western Australia (Bennet-Chambers et al. 1999, Sommer et al. 2008).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in ponds, lakes, rivers and streams, and has been collected from a dam in Western Australia (Bennet-Chambers et al. 1999). It is tolerant to human disturbance and organic pesticides (Storey and Edward 1989, Bennet-Chambers et al. 1999), but sensitive to salinities of less than 10,000 mg/L (Kendrick 1976 in Kay et al. 2001).
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species demonstrated significant bioaccumulation of the organochlorine pesticides dieldrin, DDE, DDD and DDT, suggesting it may be able to withstand freshwater pollution in the wild (Storey and Edward 1989). This was further supported by high cadmium levels in individuals from around the Canning River, Western Australia (Bennet-Chambers et al. 1999). However, this species appears to be highly sensitive to salinization. Kendrick (1976, in Kay et al. 2001) documented the disappearance of this species in the Avon River, Western Australia, at salinities of less than 10,000 mg/L, most likely as a result of land clearance (Seddon 2000). Increased salinization is a major problem in many Australian river systems, including the Blackwood River (Williams 1987).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species was assessed as Vulnerable (A1c, B1+2bc) on the Red List ver. 2.3 (IUCN 1996). There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for this species, but in places its range coincides with protected areas (Trayler et al. 1996). Monitoring of populations and habitats is recommended to prevent declines caused by salinization.

Citation: Köhler, F. 2011. Westralunio carteri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <>. Downloaded on 21 October 2014.
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