Mussel of the

Page last updated
1 June 2008

Mussel of the Month

The June 2008 Mussel of the Month is Simpsonella gracilis. Simpsonella is a genus of two species endemic to the Philippines.

Plieodon ovata
ANSP 104316. Manilla Market, Philippine Islands.

Anodontine mussels — the kind with reduced hinge teeth and large, subtriangular hooked-type glochidia — are not particularly common to Indochina or South East Asia, generally. We count only four species south of China on the Asian mainland and none on Sunda Islands of Indonesia (Java, Sumatra or Borneo) (click here for a species lists). Of course, the Sunda Islands have a reasonably diverse freshwater mussel fauna of around 28 species. It is just that none of them are anodontines (Graf & Cummings, 2007).

But there are only two species of freshwater mussels on the Philippines, and both of them are anodontines of the genus Simpsonella. We really don't have much else to say about it, other than it is a biogeographical anominally that would be worth following up with some systematic research.


Phylum Mollusca
Class Bivalvia
Subclass Palaeoheterodonta
Order Unionoida

Superfamily UNIONOIDEA Rafinesque, 1820

Family UNIONIDAE Rafinesque, 1820
Subfamily UNIONINAE s.s.
Tribe ANODONTINI Rafinesque, 1820

Genus Simpsonella Cockerell, 1903

Species Simpsonella gracilis (Lea, 1850)

For more information about Simpsonella and the diversity of anodontine mussels in Southeast Asia, check out:
  • Graf, D.L. & K.S. Cummings. 2007. Review of the systematics and global diversity of freshwater mussel species (Bivalvia: Unionoida). Journal of Molluscan Studies 73: 291-314.
  • Haas, F. 1969. Superfamilia Unionacea. Das Tierreich (Berlin) 88: 663 pp.
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