Fusconaia cerina (Conrad 1834)
Fusconaia cerina, 4.80 cm shell length
Sipsey River, Greene County, Alabama
Mussels in the genus Fusconaia are differentiated from similar appearing Pleurobema (P. georgianum) by their relatively deep shell umbo cavities and the fact that all 4 gills (as opposed to only the outer 2 in Pleurobema) serve as marsupia for developing glochidia (Hurd 1974). F. cerina may be confused with smooth Quadrula asperata. However, F. cerina shells are generally more laterally inflated and triangular-to-quadrate than those of Q. asperata.
Haag and Warren (2003) studied Fusconaia cerina life history and fish hosts. F cerina is a short-term brooder and releases glochidia in early summer. Suitable host fish included a wide range of cyprinid genera (Campostoma, Cyprinella, Hybopsis, Luxilus, Lythurus, Nocomis, Notemigonus, Notropis, Pimephales). F. cerina produces pink, worm-like conglutinates (Haag and Warren 2003).
Fusconaia cerina's habitat requirements are largely unknown. F. cerina is characteristically found in low gradient Coastal Plain streams and rivers with steep, vegetated banks, in substrate consisting primarily of sand and fine gravel (M. Gangloff unpublished data).
Fusconaia cerina has been reported from Gulf Coastal Plain streams and rivers in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana (Vidrine 1993). Historic records for F. cerina from the Lower Coosa River near Wetumpka may represent this species most upstream dispersal point in the Mobile Basin and Alabama (Gangloff 2003). F. cerina is known from the Alabama, Cahaba, Black Warrior, Tallapoosa, and Tombigbee river drainages and their larger tributaries (Pierson 1991, Johnson 1997, Gangloff 2003).
This species continues to persist in large, stable populations throughout the lower Alabama and Tombigbee Drainage and is regarded as stable throughout its range (Pierson 1991, Williams et al. 1993, Haag and Warren 2003).
Evans, R. D. 2001. Historical and contemporary distributions of aquatic mollusks in the Upper Connasauga River system of Georgia and Tennessee. M.S. Thesis, University of Tennessee Chattanooga, 277 p.
Gangloff, M. M. 2003. The status, physical habitat associations, and parasites of freshwater mussels in the upper Alabama River Drainage, Alabama. Ph.D. Dissertation, Auburn University.
Haag, W. R. and M. L. Warren. 2003. Host fishes and infection strategies of freshwater mussels in large Mobile Basin streams, USA. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 22:78-91.
Johnson, J. A. 1997. The mussel, snail, and crayfish species of the Tallapoosa River Drainage, with an assessment of their distribution in relation to chemical and physical habitat characteristics. M.S. Thesis, Auburn University, 232 p.
Parmalee, P. W. and A. E. Bogan. 1998. The freshwater mussels of Tennessee, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville. 328 p.
Pierson, J. M. 1991. A status survey of the southern clubshell, Pleurobema decisum (Lea, 1831). Mississippi Technical Report No. 13, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks - Jackson, MS 51 p.
Williams, J. D., M. L. Warren, K. S. Cummings, J. L Harris, and R. J. Neves. 1993. Conservation status of freshwater mussels of the United States and Canada. Fisheries 18: 6-22.
Page Complied by Michael Gangloff, 9 April 2003.