Mussel of the

Page last updated
24 December 2007

Mussel of the Month

The 2003 Mussels of the Month. The monthly Mussel of the Month began in August 2003.

December 2003

Prisodon obliquusPrisodon obliquus (Hyriidae, Neotropical)

The December 2003 Mussel of the Month is Prisodon obliquus. P. obliquus is a member of the freshwater mussel family Hyriidae from the Amazon region of South America.

The figure of this month's MUSSELp Mussel of the Month is from Spix & Wagner's 19th century treatment of the freshwater Mollusca of Brazil. They actually favored two different names for the shell illustrated above: Unio caudatus and Diplodon furcatum! This potential confusion, however, is moot since the same species was described earlier by Schumacher under the name Prisodon obliquus.

November 2003

Elliptio dilatataElliptio dilatata (Unionidae, Nearctic)

The November 2003 Mussel of the Month is Elliptio dilatata. Elliptio dilatata is a widespread species of eastern North America.

The genus Elliptio ranges widely across temperate eastern North America. While the center of diversity for this genus is the Atlantic Slope region of the United States, E. dilatata is one of the few species of Elliptio found in the Mississippi Interior Basin and the Great Lakes. It has been reported from the Red River of the North (Hudson Bay Drainage), but those records are likely based upon misidentified Ligumia recta. That species is also elongate with purplish nacre.

October 2003

Unio pictorumUnio pictorum (Unionidae, Palearctic)

The October 2003 Mussel of the Month is Unio pictorum. U. pictorum is the type species of the genus Unio, which in turn is the type genus of the family Unionidae and the whole order Unionoida!

For a long time, the classification of Unio was in a state of confusion— both in the sense of which species properly belong to Unio and where that genus goes in the family-level classification of freshwater mussels. Much of the 20th century was spent organizing the Unionoida into new genera, so that helped fix the first problem. The correct position of Unio was addressed in a recent paper by Dan Graf.

September 2003

Etheria ellipticaEtheria elliptica (Etheriidae, Ethiopian)

The September 2003 Mussel of the Month is Etheria elliptica, the African representative of the family Etheriidae. Etheria is a monotypic genus.

Etheria elliptica is one of only four (some say three) species of cementing southern hemisphere freshwater mussels referred to the Etheriidae. E. elliptica is widespread in Africa and is found in Madagascar as well.

August 2003

Lamproscapha ensiformisLamproscapha ensiformis (Mycetopodidae, Neotropical)

The August 2003 Mussel of the Month is Lamproscapha ensiformis of the Neotropical family Mycetopodidae. Lamproscapha has been considered a subgenus of the 'garbage-dump' genus Anodontites.

This mussel is one of the two recognized species in the genus Lamproscapha (the other being L. falsa from the Orinoco River drainage). Very similar in overall shape to the North American species Elliptio shepardiana.

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