Remnant Freshwater Mussel Diversity in Rondeau Bay, Lake Erie

Scott M. Reid, Victoria Kopf, Anita LeBaron, Todd J. Morris


In 2014 and 2015, 27 sites in Rondeau Bay, Ontario, Canada, were surveyed for freshwater mussels. Rondeau Bay is a large coastal wetland on the north shore of Lake Erie. Twenty-three species were identified from 120 live mussels, 15 fresh whole shells, 329 weathered whole shells, and 1121 weathered valves. Live individuals of the following species were collected: Eastern Pondmussel (Ligumia nasuta; endangered in Canada), Giant Floater (Pyganodon grandis), Round Pigtoe (Pleurobema sintoxia;endangered in Canada), and Three-ridge (Amblema plicata). Fresh whole shells of the Mapleleaf (Quadrula quadrula; threatenedin canada) were also found. Most species (78%), including 7 species at risk, were collected only as weathered shells. These results indicate a substantial decline in freshwater mussel diversity since the Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) invasion of Lake Erie. Evidence shows that a viable population of only Giant Floater remains.

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