Mussel of the

Page last updated
1 July 2014

Mussel of the Month

The July 2014 Mussel of the Month is Martensnaias rubicunda. Martensnaias is a genus of one species known from one valve collected in Guatemala.

Martensnaias rubicunda
ZMB 108853. [Rio Cahabon,] Coban, Guatemala (type).

Martensnaias is another Mesoamerican freshwater mussel genus about which we know very little. The genus is known from a single species, and that species was described by Martens (1900) from a single valve (shown above). We have discussed the problem of our mussel-knowledge vacuum in Central America before (e.g., see Sphenonaias). You now know everything we know about this mussel, which is what was known by Frierson (1927) and Haas (1969): it allegedly exists.

With this Central American mussel out the way, we can now shift gears to talk about last months contributions to Neotropical freshwater musselology. From 22-27 June 2014, DLG, KSC and University of Stevens-Point student Caitlin M. Luebke attended in the Mollusca 2014: Encuentro de las Américas meeting in Mexico City. Our society (the American Malacological Society) and three others met jointly at UNAM to discuss mollusks and get out of the rain. Each of the MUSSELp participants gave a presentation. DLG and KSC each gave talks during the "Bivalves of the Americas" symposium — "OK, Let's Try This Again: A Re-Assessment of Global Freshwater Mussel Diversity (Bivalvia: Unionoida)" and "The Freshwater Mussels (Bivalvia: Unionoida) of Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas and Suriname, South America," respectively. The highlight, though, was Ms. Luebke's poster (co-authored with Rachel Sommer, also of UWSP), "Curation of the Daniel Bereza Mollusk Collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History." She won an award for Best Student Poster at the meeting. Great work, Caitlin!


Phylum Mollusca
Class Bivalvia
Subclass Palaeoheterodonta
Order Unionoida

Family UNIONIDAE Rafinesque, 1820
Subfamily AMBLEMINAE Rafinesque, 1820
Tribe PLEUROBEMINI Hannibal, 1912

Genus Martensnaias Frierson, 1927

Species Martensnaias rubicunda (Martens, 1900)

To find out what there is no know about Martensnaias and other poorly understood mussels, check out:
  • Frierson, L.S. 1927. A classification and annotated check list of the North American naiades. Baylor University Press, Waco, Texas. 111 pp.
  • Haas, F. 1969. Superfamilia Unionacea. Das Tierreich, Leif. 88. Walter de Gruyter and Co., Berlin. 663 pp.
  • Martens, E.v. 1900. Biologia Centrali-Americana. Land and freshwater Mollusca. 675 pp.
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