Mussel of the

Page last updated
1 April 2011

Mussel of the Month

The April 2011 Mussel of the Month is Chambardia wissmanni. Chambardia is represented by 11 species in the Afrotropics. The genus is known from most major basins on the continent.

Chambardia wissmanni
MNHN. Ouassoulou, Niger. (syntype of Spatha oppicata Germain, 1913).

This is a hot time for Central African freshwater mussels, especially Chambardia wissmanni. Two major publications concerned with mussel conservation just became available, and we heard through the grapevine about some successful collecting in the Congo Basin. As strong supporters of both mussel research and conservation, we are pleased to have the opportunity to ride on the coat-tails of others.

A pile of Chambardia wissmanni (and other mussels) collected by Gillikin & Bouillon in the Oubangui River.The IUCN recently published the report for the Red List assessments of freshwater organisms in Central Africa. The mollusk chapter (Graf et al., 2011) was written by DLG in collaboration with Jørgensen, Van Damme, and Kristensen. And, just today, the Pan-African assessment for freshwater organisms arrived in our mailbox. DLG also contributed to the mollusk chapter in that publication (Seddon et al., 2011). Hopefully, an electronic version will be available shortly from the IUCN Freshwater Biodiversity Unit.

Finally, we've heard from David Gillikin of Union College in Schenectady that he had a successful collecting expedition to the Oubangui River in search of wily freshwater mussels. Gillikin and Steven Bouillon (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) managed to score quite a haul of Chambardia wissmanni. Whoo!


Phylum Mollusca
Class Bivalvia
Subclass Palaeoheterodonta
Order Unionoida

Superfamily ETHERIOIDEA Deshayes, 1830

Family IRIDINIDAE Swasinson
Subfamily ASPATHARIINAE Modell, 1942

Genus Chambardia Bourguignat in Servain, 1890

Species Chambardia wissmanni (von Martens, 1883)

To find about more about Chambardia wissmanni and other African freshwater mollusks:
  • Graf, D.L., A. Jørgensen, D. Van Damme & T.K. Kristensen. 2011. The status and distribution of freshwater molluscs (Mollusca). [in] E.G.E. Brooks, D.J. Allen & W.R.T. Darwall (eds.). The Status and Distribution of Freshwater Biodiversity in Central Africa. IUCN, Cambridge, UK and Gland, Switzerland. pp. 48-61.
  • Seddon, M., C. Appleton, D. Van Damme & D.L. Graf. 2011. Freshwater molluscs of Africa: diversity, distribution, and conservation. [in] W.R.T Darwall, K.G. Smith, D.J. Allen, R.A. Holland, I.J. Harrison & E.G.E. Brooks (eds.). The Diversity of Life in African Freshwaters: Under Water, Under Threat. An Analysis of the Status and Distribution of Freshwater Species Throughout Mainland Africa. IUCN, Cambridge, UK and Gland, Switzerland. pp. 92-125.
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