Mussel of the

Page last updated
11 April 2015

Mussel of the Month

The April 2015 Mussel of the Month is Physunio superbus. Physunio is a genus of nine species reported from India and Burma to the Mekong Basin and the Sunda Islands.

Physunio superbus
USNM 83935. Siam. Type of Unio gravidus Lea, 1856

Physunio superbus is the April 2015 Mussel of the Month. And, for good reasons: we haven't honored Physunio before, and we need to update this website. It is a perfectly nice looking shell from a respectable species. But, we don't really have anything else to say about it.

The real honoree this month is MUSSELp co-founder Kevin Cummings, to whom the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award. From 22-26 March 2015, Kevin visited St. Charles, Missouri to attend the biennial symposium of the FMCS. He gave a presentation on the latest MUSSELp endeavor, "The Freshwater Mussels (Bivalvia: Unionoida) the rio Amazon Drainage With an emphasis on the Rio Xingu basin, Brazil." (A previous run at this topic was presented at the annual meeting of Illinois Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.) At the FMCS banquet, KSC was presented with a plaque to commemorate his years of service to the causes of freshwater mollusk research and conservation. DLG wrote a letter in support of Kevin's nomination for this award, which read in part:

"Kevin’s career (so far) has been a rising tide that has floated all of our malacological boats. Future generations of scientists and students working in the fields of freshwater biodiversity and conservation will remember Kevin Cummings as one of the Bright Lights of the renaissance in freshwater molluscan research of the last few decades..."

Congratulations to Kevin!


Phylum Mollusca
Class Bivalvia
Subclass Palaeoheterodonta
Order Unionoida

Family UNIONIDAE Rafinesque, 1820
Subfamily GONIDEINAE Ortmann, 1916

Genus Physunio Simpson, 1900

Species Physunio superbus (Lea, 1843)
[= Unio gravidus Lea, 1856]

To find out more about Physunio and other southeastern Asian mussels we know little about, check out:
  • Bogan, A.E. 2011. Physunio superbus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. 
  • Brandt, R.A.M. 1974. The non-marine aquatic Mollusca of Thailand. Archiv für Molluskenkunde 105: 1-423.
  • Haas, F. 1969. Superfamilia Unionacea. Das Tierreich 88: 1-663.
  • Subba Rao, N.V. 1989. Handbook Freshwater Molluscs of India. Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta. 289 pp.
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