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The fat threeridge (Amblema neislerii), the surprisingly common endangered mussel in the Apalachicola River, Florida.


Native freshwater mussels (Family: Unionidae) are the most 'endangered' organisms in North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. ; in January 2006 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed 70 species as threatened or endangered. Although some species are widely distributed Adj. 1. widely distributed - growing or occurring in many parts of the world; "a cosmopolitan herb"; "cosmopolitan in distribution"

bionomics, environmental science, ecology - the branch of biology concerned with the relations between organisms
 throughout the central and eastern United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , many others are localized and found only in certain watersheds. For example, the fat threeridge The fat threeridge (Amblema neislerii) is a species of bivalve in the Unionidae family. It is endemic to the United States. Source
  • Bogan, A.E. 1996. Amblema neislerii. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 06 August 2007.
 mussel mussel, edible freshwater or marine bivalve mollusk. Mussels are able to move slowly by means of the muscular foot. They feed and breathe by filtering water through extensible tubes called siphons; a large mussel filters 10 gal (38 liters) of water per day. , Amblema neislerii (Lea, 1858), is now restricted to the Apalachicola River Noun 1. Apalachicola River - a river in northwestern Florida formed by the confluence of the Chattahoochee River and the Flint River at the Florida border
, Florida. Although results of surveys conducted during the 20th century suggest that this species was always rare in the river, our findings indicate that in moderately depositional areas near shore, A. neislerii is common-to-abundant and exhibits good evidence of recent recruitment. In 6 surveys between 1996 and 2003, divers and waders searched for mussels at approximately 100 sites in the 171-km-long river. Over 4,500 live mussels were collected and 19 species were identified. Amblema neislerii dominated the bivalve bivalve, aquatic mollusk of the class Pelecypoda ("hatchet-foot") or Bivalvia, with a laterally compressed body and a shell consisting of two valves, or movable pieces, hinged by an elastic ligament.  fauna at moderately depositional sites where it constituted approximately 36% of the fauna. Evidence of recent recruitment (live individuals less than 30 mm total shell length) was evident at many sites. This article examines the status of A. neislerii in the Apalachicola River based on a literature review and recent surveys.


Mejillones nativos de agua fresca son los organismos mas amenazados en Am6rica del Norte Del Norte can refer to multiple things:
  • Del Norte County, California
  • Del Norte, Colorado
; en enero del 2006 el Servicio de Pesca y Vida Silvestre de EE.UU. listo 70 especies como amenazadas o en peligro. A pesar de que algunas especies estan ampliamente distribuidas por todo el centro El Centro (ĕl sĕn`trō), city (1990 pop. 31,384), seat of Imperial co., SE Calif., near the Mexican border; inc. 1908. It is a processing and shipping center for a heavily irrigated agricultural region (vegetables, grain, cotton,  y la parte este de los EE.UU., muchas otras estan localizadas y se encuentran solo en ciertos acuiferos. Por ejemplo, el mejillon Amblema neislerii (Lea, 1858) esta ahora restricto al Rio Apalachicola, Florida
This article is about a city in Florida. For other uses of the term, see Apalachicola (disambiguation).

Apalachicola is a city in Franklin County, Florida on US 98 about 80 miles southwest of Tallahassee. The population was 2,334 at the 2000 census.
. Aunque los resultados de conteos realizados durante el siglo El Siglo is a Chilean weekly that is the official organ of the Chilean Communist Party's Central Committee. It was founded as newspaper on August 31, 1940.

On July 14, 1948 it was closed down as consequence of the anti-communist Defense of Democracy Law.
 20 sugieren que esta especie siempre rue rara en el rio nuestros resultados indican indican /in·di·can/ (in´di-kan) potassium indoxyl sulfate, formed by decomposition of tryptophan in the intestines and excreted in the urine.

 queen areas cerca de la orilla de deposicidn moderada, A.neislerii es de comun a abundante y hay buena evidencia de reclutamiento reciente. En 6 conteos de 1996 a 2003, buzos y vadeadores buscaron mejillones en aproximadamente 100 lugares en el estrecho de 171 km del rio Del Rio (rē`ō), city (1990 pop. 30,705), seat of Val Verde co., W Tex., on the Rio Grande opposite Ciudad Acuña, Mexico; founded 1868, inc. 1911. . Mils de 4,500 mejillones vivos fueron recolectados y se identificaron 19 especies. Amblema neislerii domina la fauna bi-valvular en lugares de deposicion moderada, donde formaba parte del 36% de la fauna. Evidencia de reclutamiento reciente (individuos vivos de menos de 30mm de largo de concha concha /con·cha/ (kong´kah) pl. con´chae   [L.] a shell-shaped structure.

concha of auricle
) estaba presente en muchos de los lugares. Este articulo articulo /ar·tic·u·lo/ (ahr-tik´u-lo) [L.] at the moment, or crisis.

articulo mor´tis  at the point or moment of death.
 examina el estatus de A.neislerii en el Rio Apalachicola basado en una revisidn de la literatura y conteos recientes.


The Apalachicola River provides habitat for an endemic freshwater mussel (family: Unionidae) the fat threeridge, Amblema neislerii (Lea, 1858), which was listed as endangered on 15 April 1998. The decision to list this and 6 other mussel species in the Southeast was partially based on results of a status survey conducted at 324 sites in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF (Advanced Communications Function) An earlier official product line name for IBM SNA programs, such as VTAM (ACF/VTAM) and NCP (ACF/NCP).

ACF - Advanced Communications Function
) river basin and 77 sites along the Ochlockonee River The Ochlockonee River is a fast running river originating in Georgia, and terminating in Florida. Background

The Ochlockonee originates south of the town of Sylvester in Worth County in southwest Georgia emptying into Ochlockonee Bay, then into Apalachee Bay, in
 Systems, southeast Alabama Southeast Alabama is the term used to identify the southeastern counties in the state of Alabama. Other names for the area are The Wiregrass and Lower Alabama. The area includeds the Counties of Dale, Pike, Houston, Coffee, Henry, Geneva, Barbour, Crenshaw and Covington. , southwest Georgia Southwest Georgia is a fourteen-county region in the U.S. state of Georgia. A common acronym used is SOWEGA.

The largest city is Albany. Counties include Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, and
, and north Florida (Federal Register 63(50): 12664-12687). Jayne Brim Box and James D. Williams James Douglas Williams (January 16, 1808 – November 20, 1880) was an American politician, most notable as the governor of Indiana from 1877 to 1880. He was a Democrat.

Williams was born in Picaway County, Ohio.
 conducted the status survey in 199193 using scuba and snorkeling, and by handpicking in shallow water See:
  • Shallow water blackout
  • Waves and shallow water
  • Shallow water equations
  • Shallow Water, Kansas
. These and other studies (Butler 1993) were synthesized for the Technical/Agency Draft Recovery Plan (Butler and Alam 1999) and for the Final Recovery Plan (Butler et al. 2003).

As of January 2006 the total number of federally listed threatened and endangered species endangered species, any plant or animal species whose ability to survive and reproduce has been jeopardized by human activities. In 1999 the U.S. government, in accordance with the U.S.  was 1,272, which included 527 animals and 745 plants (US Fish and Wildlife Service 2006). When compared with charismatic species such as mammals and birds, concern has been expressed by some that invertebrates have been largely overlooked by the Endangered Species Act The federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) (16 U.S.C.A. §§ 1531 et seq.) was enacted to protect animal and plant species from extinction by preserving the ecosystems in which they survive and by providing programs for their conservation.  (ESA 1. (architecture) ESA - Enterprise Systems Architecture.
2. (body) ESA - European Space Agency.
) (Kellert 1993; Opler 1987; Bean 1993; Murphy 1991; Hughes et al. 2000; Black et al. 2001). Regardless, of the 297 mussel species in the United States (Williams et al. 1993), 62 are endangered and 8 are threatened; therefore 24% have federal protection. Considering this comparatively high percentage, one could conclude that either native mussels are in serious trouble (Stansbery 1970; Fuller 1974; Master 1990; Bogan 1993; Seddon et al. 1998; Hayes 1998; Williams et al. 1993; Neves 1999; and Strayer et al. 2004) or they benefit from strong advocates (Yaffee 1982). Most likely, it is a combination of both.

Between 1996 and 2003 six mussel surveys were conducted in the Apalachicola River for the U.S. Army Engineer District, Mobile. These studies were designed to obtain information on distribution and abundance of federally listed mussels to avoid impacts of dredged material disposal. During this period nearly 211 hours were expended searching at approximately 100 sites in the 171-km-long river. As a result of these surveys and a critical review of previous papers on A. neislerii, it became apparent that this species is more common in the Apalachicola River than results of previous surveys would suggest. The purpose of this paper is to discuss survey results and the status of A. neislerii in the Apalachicola River. The other federally-listed mussel in the Apalachicola River is the purple bank climber, Elliptoideus sloatianus (Lea, 1840), listed as threatened on 15 April 1998.

Study Area

The Apalachicola River, formed by the confluence of the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers, originates at Navigation Mile (NM) 106.3, just south of Lake Seminole Lake Seminole is a man-made lake located in the southwest corner of Georgia along its border with Florida. The Chattahoochee and Flint rivers join in the lake, before flowing from the Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam, which impounds the lake, as the Apalachicola River.  in the tailwater
  • Tailwater refers to a type of trout fishery. Tailwater fisheries are created at the outflow from large dams, where the size of the reservoir creates a steep temperature gradient, with colder water stored at the bottom of the reservoir near the outlet.
 of Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam. This 171-km river is the largest in Florida with a mean annual flow of 690 [m.sup.3]/sec (Light et al. 1998). The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin, in Georgia and northeastern Florida, drains approximately 210,448 hectares. The river enters the Apalachicola Bay Apalachicola Bay is an estuary and lagoon located on Florida's northwest coast. The Apalachicola Bay system also includes St. Georges Sound, St. Vincent Sound and East Bay, covering an area of about 208 sq. miles. Four islands St. Vincent Island to the west, Cape St.  at Apalachicola, Florida.

Jim Woodruff Dam is located at Navigation Mile 106.3 on the Apalachicola River and forms the Lake Seminole impoundment An action taken by the president in which he or she proposes not to spend all or part of a sum of money appropriated by Congress.

The current rules and procedures for impoundment were created by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C.A.
. Jim Woodruff Dam and Lake Seminole are operated as a run-of-the-river reservoir with the capability for only limited water storage. The tailwaters below Jim Woodruff Dam on the Apalachicola River are free-flowing and unobstructed, but can be affected by upstream reservoir operations and releases. The USACE USACE United States Army Corps of Engineers  allows basin outflows from Jim Woodruff Dam to approximately equal inflows from the upstream reservoirs in the basin except when upstream reservoirs are refilling. However, to avoid having discharge fall below 141.6 cms (minimum flow) during low flow periods, flows can be augmented by releases from Jim Woodruff Dam and/or other upstream reservoirs along the Chattahoochee River.

In 1875 the USACE was authorized to maintain a navigation channel in the Apalachicola River (U.S. Army Engineer District, Mobile 1987). In the early 20th century sediments were dredged from the main channel, oxbows, tributaries, and sloughs and placed on the floodplain floodplain, level land along the course of a river formed by the deposition of sediment during periodic floods. Floodplains contain such features as levees, backswamps, delta plains, and oxbow lakes.  within natural riverbanks. In the 1980s nearly 150 disposal areas were permitted throughout the river, although in any single year relatively few are used. Dredging was restricted to the main channel and material was only placed at specifically designated disposal areas primarily along shore in within-bank disposal sites. Although maintained for commercial navigation, commercial river traffic on the Apalachicola River in recent years has been light and has consisted mainly of recreational vessels. A number of factors have led to an unreliable navigation channel and the observed reduction in commercial navigation on the river, including recurrent drought conditions "Drought Conditions" is episode 126 of The West Wing. Plot
Senator Rafferty, a new presidential candidate garnered much media attention with a ground-breaking speech about health care.
, dredged material capacity shortfalls, increasing restrictions on dredged material disposal, and funding limitations. The continued use of within-bank disposal areas has remained controversial within the State of Florida. However, mussel surveys have been conducted at all proposed within-bank disposal sites prior to their use in order to avoid impacts to threatened and endangered mussels or their habitat.


Most dredged material disposal areas are now located on erosional point bars, typically at a bend in the river so high flow redistributes sediments downriver down·riv·er  
adv. & adj.
Toward or near the mouth of a river; in the direction of the current: swam downriver; a downriver canoe race.

Adv. 1.
. As is the case with all rivers, downriver of the erosional point bar is a zone of moderate sediment deposition. Concerning sediment deposition, the term 'moderate' is used to indicate that during low flow fine-grained sediments or silts will be deposited and gradually increase in depth. Moderately depositional areas are firm but muddy and will support benthic ben·thos  
1. The collection of organisms living on or in sea or lake bottoms.

2. The bottom of a sea or lake.

 invertebrates such as mussels, snails, worms (oligochaeta) and dipterans (chironomidae). A period of high-velocity water will scour scour, scours

1. the chemical and physical cleaning of fleece wool.

2. diarrhea.

dietetic scour
see dietary diarrhea.

peat scour
see secondary nutritional copper deficiency.
 sediments and remove most of the smaller, short-lived fauna, although the site usually recolonizes quickly. Depending on conditions, these moderately depositional areas could scour several times a year, or simply maintain a dynamic equilibrium dy·nam·ic equilibrium
See equilibrium.
 between erosion and deposition which is not detrimental to the fauna. Many shoals in large rivers such as the Ohio, Tennessee, and upper Mississippi that support dense and diverse mussel assemblages meet these latter criteria


Mussels were collected by 2-4 waders in shallow water and by 2 divers in water deeper than 1 m. Searches were timed and usually lasted 15-20 minutes. Collecting was done tactilely since underwater visibility was poor. Divers were equipped with a pneumofathometer to record water depth and were tethered Attached to a data or power source by wire or fiber. Contrast with untethered.  to the boat with a 100-m line. All live mussels were taken to the boat or a station onshore and counted, identified, and returned to a location unlikely to be disturbed by future maintenance. Demographic data were obtained at a single site by collecting total substratum sub·stra·tum  
n. pl. sub·stra·ta or sub·stra·tums
a. An underlying layer.

b. A layer of earth beneath the surface soil; subsoil.

2. A foundation or groundwork.

 quantitative samples using a 0.25-[m.sup.2] quadrat quad·rat  
1. Printing A piece of type metal lower than the raised typeface, used for filling spaces and blank lines. Also called quad2.

 (Miller and Payne 1993). Mussel taxonomy is consistent with Williams et al. (1993).

The major objective during most study years was to assess presence/ absence of threatened and endangered mussels in areas likely to be affected by dredged material disposal operations. In 1996, 1997, 1999, and 2002 these surveys were conducted immediately up-and downriver of 57 disposal areas. In 2001 searches were conducted immediately up- and downriver of 34 sloughs scheduled for maintenance dredging for ecosystem restoration Humans depend greatly on ecosystem services. These services vary greatly and include such things as erosion control, water and air purification, food, recreation, a list that could go on endlessly. . All sites were chosen by USACE and state environmental resource agency personnel and included both high quality benthic habitats as well as erosional zones not inhabited by live mussels or other benthic organisms.

A second objective was to analyze A. neislerii size demography, and abundance with respect to water depth at sites where this species was known to be common to abundant. These investigations were initiated to obtain a more complete understanding of this species in the Apalachicola River during low flow conditions. Population structure and evidence of recent recruitment were examined in 1999 by collecting quantitative total substratum samples using a 0.25-[m.sub.2] quadrat. Total shell length of each live A. neislerii was measured with digital calipers, and then it was returned to the river unharmed. These samples were taken from a moderately depositional area along the right descending bank of the Chipola Cutoff immediately downriver of the point where it exits the Apalachicola River at NM 41.7. As part of this objective, the distribution of A. neislerii with respect to water depth was investigated in November 2003 at 11 moderately depositional sites between NM 30.0 and 73.3. Transects perpendicular to shore were established that ran from shallow (0.6 m) to deep (2.7 m) water. At 0.3-m depth increments along each transect tran·sect  
tr.v. tran·sect·ed, tran·sect·ing, tran·sects
To divide by cutting transversely.

[trans- + -sect.
 2 divers searched for mussels for 15 minutes. A total of 100 timed searches were conducted. Gauge height and discharge at the nearest gauge near Blountstown, Florida Blountstown is a city in Calhoun County, Florida, United States. The population was 2,444 at the 2000 census. According to the U.S Census estimates of 2005, the city had a population of 2,433. [1] It is the county seat of Calhoun CountyGR6.  (NM 78) was 1.11 m, 266.7 cms (18 Nov 03); 1.27 m, 291.7 cms (19 Nov 03); and 1.50 m 325.6 cms (20 Nov 03).


Data from the first objective, to search for endangered species at sites likely to be affected by dredged material disposal, are summarized in Table 1. More than 4,200 live mussels were collected at approximately 100 sites in the Apalachicola River. A. neislerii constituted 10% of the fauna and ranked 4th of 19 species. The most abundant species at these sites was Lampsilis teres teres /te·res/ (te´rez) [L.] long and round.

Being round and long. Used of certain muscles and ligaments.


[L.] long and round.
 (Rafinesque, 1820), which constituted 35.2% of the fauna. This species is usually common in sandy substratum in rivers, streams, and lakes throughout the Midwest (Cummings and Mayer 1992). Overall Collection per Unit Effort (CPUE CPUE Catch Per Unit Effort (fishing industry) ; mussels collected per person hour) for all mussels was 21.9 and for A. neislerii was 2.2. As noted above, these sites included some where A. neislerii was common to abundant and others where virtually no benthic organisms were found.

It became apparent that freshwater mussels, including A. neislerii, were most abundant in moderately depositional areas often located 1-2 km or less downriver of point bars. Output from the CH3D-SED model (Raphelt and Alexander 2001) identifies areas of moderate sediment deposition downriver of point bars and disposal areas (Figure 3). A different impression of the relative abundance of A. neislerii emerges when collecting was restricted to moderately depositional sites (Objective 2). At 11 depositional sites (8 separate locations) A. neislerii ranked 1 of 12 and constituted 35.8% of the fauna. Average CPUE was 37.9 for all mussels and 13.6 for A. neislerii. CPUE ranged from 0.5 to 20.2 for A. neislerii and from 6.3 to 55.9 for total mussels on transects located perpendicular to shore (Figure 4). Total shell length varied from 30 to 90 mm with 12% less than 40 mm total shell length. Mussels were most abundant at a depth of 1.2 m. Mussels were virtually absent at water depths less than 1.2 m likely because of predation predation

Form of food getting in which one animal, the predator, eats an animal of another species, the prey, immediately after killing it or, in some cases, while it is still alive. Most predators are generalists; they eat a variety of prey species.
 and aerial exposure. At depths greater than 2.7 m flow became erosional and few live mussels were found.


To investigate A. neislerii population demography, total substratum quantitative samples were taken at a moderately depositional site along the Chipola Cutoff where it connects with the Apalachicola River (approximate NM 41.7). CPUE for all mussels was 145, and A. neislerii was collected at the rate of nearly 90 per hour and constituted slightly more than 61% of the molluscan mol·lus·can also mol·lus·kan  
Of or relating to the mollusks.

A mollusk.
 fauna, Total shell length ranged from 12.8 to 63.7 mm with good evidence of recent recruitment (Figure 5). We can only quantify the presence of small mussels, however, when total substratum samples were obtained. Mean density of A. neislerii was 27.2 individuals/m2, and mean density for all mussels was 34.8 individuals/m2.



The first published reference to A. neislerii in the ACF basin was by Hyning (1925) who considered this species to be 'rare.' He made this statement after receiving an unreported number of A. neislerii from the Chipola River that were given to him by a fisherman. Later van der Schalie (1940) summarized early mussel studies in the mainstem Chipola River and tributaries. He reported that A. neislerii was not found in tributaries but was collected at 2 sites in the Chipola River where it constituted 1.49% of the unionid fauna. Clench and Turner (1956) reported that A. neislerii was rare in the watershed, although when present it could be locally abundant. They considered it to be extinct in the upper Flint River Flint River

A river of western Georgia flowing about 531 km (330 mi) generally southward to join the Chattahoochee River and form the Apalachicola River at the Florida border.

Noun 1.
 where it had not been taken since the latter part of the previous century, although they did find some specimens in the lower Flint, Apalachicola, and Chipola Rivers. They reported that A. neislerii was 'amazingly abundant' in a natural impoundment in the lower Chipola River (referred to as Dead Lake) where 10-15 Crenodonta (=Amblema) neislerii could be found in "every square meter Noun 1. square meter - a centare is 1/100th of an are
centare, square metre

area unit, square measure - a system of units used to measure areas
" along a 200-meter reach.

In a survey conducted for the Office of Endangered Species, Heard (1975) collected mussels at 150 locations in the Gulf and Southeastern States; 3 were in the Apalachicola and 4 were in the Chipola River. He collected live A. neislerii only in the lower Chipola River (Dead Lake). Heard (1975) reported no live A. neislerii in the Apalachicola River although he did find shells at I of 3 sites. He provided no information on sampling methods, intensity, or locations.

Richardson and Yokley (1996) collected mussels in the lower Apalachicola River using quantitative (6-0.25-m2 quadrats and total substratum removal) samples at each of 3 sites where adult A. neislerii or E. sloatianus had been found by previous investigators. Amblema neislerii was found at 1 of 3 sites (NM 21.8) where it constituted 25% of the assemblage. Three live organisms were smaller than 50 mm total shell length. Richardson and Yokley (1996) concluded that appropriate search methods (total substratum removal) would likely yield additional evidence of recent recruitment for A. neislerii in the Apalachicola River.

In 1991-92, Brim Box and Williams (2000) surveyed 324 sites in the ACF River Basin The ACF River Basin is the watershed of the Apalachicola/Chattahoochee/Flint River Basin, in the United States, that begins in northern Georgia and flows into the Gulf of Mexico at Apalachicola Bay, near Apalachicola, Florida. . They identified 33 species from a collection of 5,757 live individuals and 2,988 shells. Most sites were in the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers upriver of Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam. In the Apalachicola River, Brim Box and Williams (2000) collected 32 live A. neislerii at 7 sites.

Early studies (Hyning 1925, van der Schalie 1940, Clench and Turner 1956, Heard 1975) give an impression that A. neislerii is rare in the ACF basin, but it is difficult to critically evaluate their results without knowing details of the surveys. It is also true that this species would accurately be described as common-to-abundant in the Apalachicola River but uncommon in the ACF Basin as a whole. Richardson and Yokley (1996) collected just 6 quantitative samples at a site in the Apalachicola River where they knew A. neislerii was present and reached conclusions similar to ours but different from previous workers. Over 200 hours were spent searching at approximately 100 sites in the Apalachicola River. Over 4,800 live mussels were processed and more than 600 live A. neislerii were collected. This is far more than any previous surveys, even those upon which the decision to list A. neislerii as endangered was based.

Amblema neislerii survives best in slightly depositional, low-flow reaches of medium-to-large sized rivers, and is less common in small streams. Therefore it was probably never common in the smaller Flint or Chipola Rivers. It is endemic to the ACF basin because it has been isolated from the Mississippi drainage by marine conditions to the south and physiography to the east, north, and west. It was concluded that A. neislerii is common to abundant at moderately depositional sites in the Apalachicola River. If earlier workers had access to powerboats and divers and conducted intensive and extensive surveys, they would likely have concluded that this species was common in the Apalachicola River and uncommon in smaller tributaries. An alternative hypothesis alternative hypothesis Epidemiology A hypothesis to be adopted if a null hypothesis proves implausible, where exposure is linked to disease. See Hypothesis testing. Cf Null hypothesis.  seems unlikely. It is difficult to believe that A. neislerii was previously uncommon in the Apalachicola River and that its abundance has greatly increased during the last 30 years.

These studies were initiated assuming that A. neislerii was extremely uncommon and that intensive field searches would be needed to find live specimens. However, results of these field studies indicated that this species is not in imminent danger of becoming extirpated in the Apalachicola River; conversely, in appropriate habitat it is abundant and exhibits good evidence of recent recruitment. In the Apalachicola River, A. neislerii could even be used as an indicator of good quality moderately depositional mussel habitat. The ESA provided protection and raised awareness of abundance and distribution of A. neislerii. A similar situation was noted for the endangered bivalve Potamilus capax in the St. Francis basin, Arkansas (Miller and Payne 2005).

Depending on need, the USACE has dredged along the Apalachicola River and has typically placed the dredged material near shore. Dredging impacts, water levels, commercial uses of the river, and protection of endangered species is central to coordination among conservation groups, navigation interests, and the USACE. A complete understanding of the distribution and abundance of A. neislerii is therefore critical to managing the waterway.


Studies were funded by the U.S. Army Engineer District, Mobile, Mobile, Alabama. The authors thank Will Green, Mark Farr, Naomi Van Tol, Donald R. Manning, and divrs from Tennessee Valley Authority Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), independent U.S. government corporate agency, created in 1933 by act of Congress; it is responsible for the integrated development of the Tennessee River basin.  and Mainstream Commercial Divers for field assistance. Joanne Brandt, U.S. Army Engineer District, Mobile provided financial and technical support for this project. The Chief of Engineers granted permission to publish this information.

Literature Cited

Bean, M. J. 1993. Invertebrates and the Endangered Species Act. Wings. 17(2):12-15.

Black, S. H., Shepard, M., and M. M. Allen. 2001. Endangered Invertebrates: The Case for Greater Attention to Invertebrate invertebrate (ĭn'vûr`təbrət, –brāt'), any animal lacking a backbone. The invertebrates include the tunicates and lancelets of phylum Chordata, as well as all animal phyla other than Chordata.  Conservation. Endangered Species Update 18(2):41-49.

Bogan, A. E. 1993. Freshwater bivalve extinctions (Mollusca: Unionidae): a search for causes. American Zoologist 33:599-609.

Brim Box, J., and J.D. Williams. 2000. Unionid mollusks of the Apalachicola Basin in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History No. 22. 143 pp.

Butler, R.S. 1993. Results of a status survey for 8 freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae) endemic to eastern gulf slope drainages of the Apalachicolan Region of southeast Alabama, southwest Georgia, and north Florida. Status Report Prepared by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville, FL.

Butler, R.S., and S.K. Alam. 1999. Technical/ Agency Draft Recovery Plan for endangered fat threeridge (Amblema neislerii), shinyrayed pocketbook (Lampsilis subangulata), Gulf moccasinshell The gulf moccasinshell (Medionidus penicillatus) is a species of bivalve in the Unionidae family. It is endemic to the United States. Its natural habitat is rivers. Source
  • Bogan, A.E. 2000. Medionidus penicillatus.
 (Medionidus penicillatus), Ochlockonee moccasinshell The ochlockonee moccasinshell (Medionidus simpsonianus) is a species of bivalve in the Unionidae family. It is endemic to the United States. Its natural habitat is rivers. Source
  • Bogan, A.E. 2000. Medionidus simpsonianus.
 (Medionidus simpsonianus), oval pigtoe The oval pigtoe (Pleurobema pyriforme) is a species of bivalve in the Unionidae family. It is big animal! Ryan is sexy! Ha Ha Haendemic to the United States. Its natural habitat is rivers. Source
  • Bogan, A.E. 2000. Pleurobema pyriforme.
, and threatened Chipola slabshell The chipola slabshell (Elliptio chipolaensis) is a species of bivalve in the Unionidae family. It is endemic to the United States. Its natural habitat is rivers. It is threatened by habitat loss. Source
  • Bogan, A.E. 2000. Elliptio chipolaensis.
 (Elliptio chipolaensis), and purple bankclimber The purple bankclimber (Elliptoideus sloatianus) is a species of bivalve in the Unionidae family. It is endemic to the United States. It is threatened by habitat loss. Source
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Andrew C. Miller (1,2)

Barry S. Payne (1,3)

(1) Environmental Laboratory, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, MS 39180-6199


Table 1. Summary of timed searches for mussels at disposal
areas, slough mouths, or banks requiring maintenance
in the Apalachicola River, Florida (1996, 1997,
1999, 2001, and 2002).

Species                        % Abundance   % Occurrence   CPUE, hr

A. neislerii                      35.8            47         13.57
G. rotundata                      32.36           55         12.26
L. teres                          10.67           28          4.04
E. icterina                       8.26            21          3.13
Q. infucata                       4.13            14          1.57
E. complanata                     2.75            7           1.04
P. grandis                        2.75            9           1.04
M. nervosa                        1.03            4           0.39
U. peggyae                        0.86            4           0.33
T. paulus                         0.69            4           0.26
E. crassidens                     0.34            2           0.13
V. lienosa                        0.34            2           0.13
Total collections                  100
Total individuals                  581
Total species                      12
Time, hr                          15.3
CPUE, Catch per person hour       37.9

Table 2. Summary of results from timed searches at multiple
depths (0.3 - 2 m) at 11 locations along the mainstem
Apalachicola River, November 2003.

Species                        % Abundance    % Occurrence    CPUE

Lampsilis teres                    35.22          58.3        7.7
Glebula rotundata                  23.81          46.9        5.2
Elliptio icterina                  14.48          22.9        3.16
Amblema neislerii                   10            22.9        2.19
Quincuncina infucata               2.76           22.9        0.60
Elliptio crassidens                1.64           16.7        0.36
Megalonaias nervosa                1.55           15.6        0.34
Elliptoideus sloatianus            1.69           9.4         0.37
Pyganodon grandis                  1.31           19.8        0.29
Elliptio complanata                6.12           15.6        1.34
Toxolasma paulus                   0.40           8.3         0.09
Utterbackia imbecillis             0.21           6.3         0.05
Villosa villosa                    0.19           3.1         0.04
Pyganodon cataracta                0.16           3.1         0.04
Uniomerus caroliniana              0.12           3.1         0.03
Elliptio ardata                    0.19           3.1         0.04
Utterbackia peggyae                0.07           2.1         0.02
Pyganodon heardi                   0.05           2.1         0.01
Latnpsilis claibornensis           0.05           2.1         0.01
Total locations                      96
Total individuals                 4,268
Total species                        19
Time, hr                          195.3
CPUE, Catch perperson hour          219
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Author:Miller, Andrew C.; Payne, Barry S.
Publication:Endangered Species Update
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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