Hamiota altilis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Mollusca Bivalvia Unionoida Unionidae

Scientific Name: Hamiota altilis (Conrad, 1834)
Common Name(s):
English Finelined Pocketbook, Fine-lined Pocketbook
Lampsilis altilis (Conrad, 1834)
Taxonomic Notes: Apparently this species has been listed as Lampsilis clarkiana in the literature more often than as Lampsilis altilis. Hanley (1983) was the first to indicate L. altilis may belong to a different genus rather than Lampsilis and that L. altilis is distinct from Lampsilis perovalis, but probably identification of the two taxa has been confused in the literature. Distinct shell morphology in the form L. clarkiana may warrant genetic evaluation in comparison to typical L. altilis (J. D. Williams pers. comm. 1997). Lampsilis altilis, Lampsilis perovalis, Lampsilis subangulata, and Lampsilis australis have been placed into the new genus Hamiota (Roe and Hartfield 2005).

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: Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-03-05
Assessor(s): Cummings, K. & Cordeiro, J.
Reviewer(s): Bohm, M., Collen, B. & Seddon, M.
Contributor(s): Dyer, E., Soulsby, A.-M., Richman, N., Whitton, F., Kasthala, G., McGuinness, S., Milligan, HT, De Silva, R., Herdson, R., Thorley, J., McMillan, K., Collins, A., Offord, S. & Duncan, C.
Hamiota altillis has been assessed as Endangered under criterion B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v) due to its extent of occurrence being < 1,000 km2 and area of occupancy being < 500 km2, populations being severely fragmented and isolated, and the area/quality of available habitat being reduced by the many threats posed to the species, resulting in a continuing decline in EOO, AOO, number of mature individuals and subpopulations. It is a declining regional endemic that was once widespread throughout the Mobile River basin in the Tombigbee, Black Warrior, Cahaba, Alabama, Tallapoosa, and Coosa Rivers in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. It has been reduced to eight or ten scattered occurrences throughout its historic range, resulting in a 50% reduction in range (A. Bogan pers. comm. 2010). It could face the threat of extinction should there be significant further loss of habitat or quality of habitat.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The type locality for this species is the Alabama River near Claiborne, Monroe County, Alabama. Historically, it was recorded from the Sipsey and Buttahatchie Rivers in the Tombigbee River drainage; Black Warrior River and its tributaries (Sipsey Fork, Brushy and Capsey Creeks); Cahaba River and its tributaries (Little Cahaba and Buck Creek); Alabama River and a secondary tributary, Tatum Creek; Chewacla and Opintlocco Creeks in the Tallapoosa River drainage; and the Coosa River and its tributaries (Choccolocco and Talladega Creeks). The current distribution of the species is believed to be limited to the headwaters of the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River drainage; Tatum Creek in the Alabama River drainage; Little Cahaba River in the Cahaba River drainage; Conasauga River in the Coosa drainage and one site in the main channel; and Chewacla and Opintlocco Creeks in the Tallapoosa River drainage (USFWS 1993, 2000). The total area of occupancy is estimated to be between 50-250 miles of stream length. Mirarchi et al. (2004) cite the species as being endemic to eastern reaches of Mobile Basin in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee, including the Coosa, Tallapoosa, and Cahaba River systems with widespread but small and isolated populations. It has been extirpated from the Tombigbee in Mississippi (Jones et al. 2005). The species has been extirpated from 31-41% of its historic range (USFWS 2003), with even greater reductions since then (Bogan pers. comm. 2011). Although its range potentially extends over an area of more than 50,000 km2, within this range, the species is only found in a few dozen widespread but isolated occurrences. Taking these discontinuities into account, the extent of occurrence is estimated as less than 1,000 km2.
Countries occurrence:
United States (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi - Regionally Extinct, Tennessee)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:100-500Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:250-1000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Yes
Number of Locations:8-10
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Historically, this species was widespread throughout the Mobile River basin in the Tombigbee, Black Warrior, Cahaba, Alabama, Tallapoosa, and Coosa Rivers in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee (USFWS 2003). Currently, it is limited to eight occurrences which are scattered throughout the historic range, including the upper Cahaba River and Little Cahaba River (Jefferson/Shelby/Bibb Counties, Alabama); and Coosa River and its tributaries, including Duck Creek (Walker County, Georgia), Euharlee Creek (Bartow County, Georgia), Conasauga River (Murray/Whitfield County, Georgia and Polk County, Tennessee), and Holly Creek (Murray County, Georgia), Terrapin Creek and South Fork Terrapin Creek (Claiburne County, Alabama); Yellowleaf Creek and Muddy Prong (Shelby County, Alabama); Kelly Creek and Shoal Creek (Shelby/St. Clair County, Alabama), Choccolocco Creek (Calhoun County, Alabama) and its tributaries Cheaha Creek (Talladega/Clay County, Alabama), and Tallasahatchee Creeki (Talladega County, Alabama); Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River drainage in Alabama; and the Tallapoosa River and tributaries, including Uphapee Creek (Macon County, Alabama), Choctafaula Creek (Macon/Lee County, Alabama), Chedwacla Creek (Macon/Lee County, Alabama), Opintlocco Creek (Macon County, Alabama), Cane and Little Cane Creeks (Cleburne County, Alabama), Muscadine Creek (Cleburne County, Alabama), Big Creek (Haralson County, Georgia) (USFWS 1993, 2000, 2003). In the Coosa River basin in Georgia, it is known historically from the Etowah, Oostanaula, and Conasauga River drainages but has not been collected live recently except in the Conasauga (Williams and Hughes 1998). This species has been recently reported from the Conasauga River inside and adjacent to the Cherokee and Chattahoochee National Forests, Murray/Whitfield Cos., Georgia, and Polk Co., Tennessee; as well as Holly Creek, adjacent to the Chattahoochee National Forest, Murray Co., Georgia (Johnson et al. 2005).

All populations are small and localised and there is a potential of additional, unknown, relict populations in small to moderate-sized streams (USFWS 2000). Population size cannot be estimated due to insufficient information. However, this species has experienced a 50% reduction in range over the last 25-50 years (Bogan pers. comm. 2010).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:Yes
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Historically, this species was found in large rivers to small creek habitats (USFWS 2000). Van der Schalie (1938, 1981) indicates that it generally occupies creeks and smaller rivers. It is typically found in areas with at least some current, though usually not in swift current, and substrates of sand and mixtures of sand and gravel without heavy silt accumulations (Williams et al. 2008); yet, it has been found associated with swift-flowing riffles and gravel-cobble substrates in the Conasauga River. Recently, it has been found in stable sand and in gravel in small streams above the Fall Line (USFWS 2000).

It is a long-term brooder, gravid from late summer or autumn to the following spring. Ortmann (1924) reported one female gravid with eggs during mid-May, which he noted was “entirely abnormal”. This is one of only four freshwater mussel species known to produce superconglutinates. The superconglutinates of this species are fusiform in shape, larger at one end than the other, creamy white with a dusky stripe dorsally and no eyespot (Haag and Warren 1999). It is discharged into paired mucus tubes that remain attached to the female parent, at least for a period. Females also display mantle flaps mimicking fish. While displaying, the female either positions itself with the posterior one-third to one-half of its shell above the substrate or lies completely out of the substrate on its dorsum (Haag et al. 1999, Williams et al. 2008). Maximum age is 15 years according to Haag and Rypal (2010).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Previously the species was overutilised for commercial, recreational, scientific or educational purposes but mussel harvesting is now illegal (USFWS 1993).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Previously the species was overutilised for commercial, recreational, scientific or educational purposes but mussel harvesting is now illegal (USFWS 1993), so this is now a historical threat. In Tennessee and Kentucky mussel harvesting still occurs but not for this species, however incidental take may occur. 

Habitat modification, sedimentation and water quality degradation represent the major threats to this species. Disappearance from significant portions of its range are primarily due to changes in river and stream channels due to dams, dredging, or mining, and historic or episodic pollution events. The species is not known to survive in impounded waters and more than 1,700 km of large and small river habitat in the Basin have been impounded by dams for navigation, flood control, water supply, and/or hydroelectric production purposes (USFWS 2004).

In the Mobile River basin, the greatest threats are dams (for navigation, water supply, electricity, recreation, and flood control), channelisation (causing accelerated erosion, altered depth, and loss of habitat diversity, substrate stability, and riparian canopy), dredging (for navigation or gravel mining), mining (for coal, sand, gravel, or gold) in locally concentrated areas, point source pollution (industrial waste effluent, sewage treatment plants, carpet and fabric mills, paper mills and refineries in mainstem rivers), and non-point source pollution (construction, agriculture, silviculture, urbanisation) (USFWS 2004).

The threats listed above may result in the imminent death of individuals or populations and/or inhibit reproduction. Isolated imperiled populations in the Mobile River basin are likely to be vulnerable to random accidents, such as toxic spills, and to naturally catastrophic events, such as droughts and floods, even if land use and human populations were to remain constant within isolated watersheds (USFWS 2000).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species was listed as threatened in 1993 and a recovery plan was drafted (USFWS 2000). Williams et al. (2010) lists this species as threatened according to the AFS assessment. It has also been assigned a NatureServe Global Heritage Status Rank of G2G3 - Imperiled to Vulnerable, and State/Province Status Ranks of S2 - Imperiled for Alabama, and S1S2 - Critically Imperiled to Imperiled for Georgia and Tennessee (NatureServe 2009).

A specific recovery plan has been created for the Mobile River basin (USFWS 2000) which contains the following objectives: (1) protect habitat integrity and quality of river and stream segments that currently support or could support imperiled aquatic species, (2) consider options for free-flowing river and stream mitigation strategies that give high priority to avoidance and restoration, (3) promote voluntary stewardship as a practical and economical means of reducing nonpoint pollution from private land use, (4) encourage and support community-based watershed stewardship planning and action, (5) develop and implement programs and materials to educate the public on the need and benefits of ecosystem management, and to involve them in watershed stewardship, (6) conduct basic research on endemic aquatic species and apply the results toward management and protection of aquatic communities, (7) develop and implement technology for maintaining and propagating endemic species in captivity, (8) reintroduce aquatic species into restored habitats, as appropriate, (9) monitor listed species' population levels and distribution and periodically review ecosystem management strategy, (10) coordinate ecosystem management actions (more detail in USFWS 2000).

Chewacla and Opintlocco Creeks in the Tallapoosa River drainage flow through the Talladega National Forest. The tributaries to the Sipsey Fork in the upper Black Warrior Drainage originate and flow through the Bankhead National Forest. The USDA Forest Service in Alabama is keenly aware of the presence of these mussels within their jurisdiction and are working to protect them. It has funded mussel surveys in streams under its jurisdiction, and has revised and implemented protective stream management zone guidelines on National Forest lands in Alabama (USFWS 2000). This species has been recently reported from the Conasauga River inside and adjacent to the Cherokee and Chattahoochee National Forests, Marray/Whitfield Cos., Georgia, and Polk Co., Tennessee (Johnson et al. 2005). Critical habitat has been designated in Georgia in the Tallapoosa River and Oostanaula complex; in Alabama in the Cahaba River, Tallapoosa River, Uphapee complex, Coosa River, Hatchet Creek, Shoal Creek, Kelly Creek, Cheaha Creek, Yellowleaf Creek, Big Canoe Creek, and Lower Coosa River; and in Tennessee in the Oostanaula complex (744 occupied, 134 unoccupied km) (USFWS 2004).

Further research is required (population and distribution trends, and monitoring of populations and threats) and conservation measures - specifically effective and enforced site and species protection - should be implemented to ensure adequate protection of this species.

Citation: Cummings, K. & Cordeiro, J. 2012. Hamiota altilis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T11250A502085. . Downloaded on 18 September 2018.
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