Mussel of the

Page last updated
2 October 2020

Mussel of the Month

The October 2020 Mussel of the Month is Bineurus mouhotii. Bineurus is a genus of two species from southeast Asia.

Bineurus mouhotii
USNM 86339. Laos Mts., Cambodia (type).

In the northern hemisphere, autumn is settling in, and Halloween is just around the corner — which is perfect for Bineurus mouhotii as Mussel of the Month. If you find splitting spooky and are haunted by genus-level revisions, then you will be taxonomically terrified by the dismemberment of Bineurus from the old Pseudodon.

Pseudodon sensu lato was a big, messy but not scary genus of more than 20 species distributed among multiple subgenera in East Asia (Graf & Cummings, 2007), but terror was lurking in the shadows of phylogenetic ignorance. At a full moon or after a radioactive meteor crashed or somebody got bitten by a bat or following series of phylogenetic studies sampling from throughout the range of Pseudodon s.l. (Lopes-Lima et al., 2017; Bolotov et al., 2017, 2020), the ancient, cursed were-genus metamorphosed into 36 species in nine genera in two tribes: Pseudodon s.s. (13 spp.), Bineurus (2), Monodontina (7), Nyeinchanconcha (1), Sundadontina (10), Thaiconcha (2) [all Pseudodontini], and Obovalis (1) [Gonideini]. Bwaa haa haa!!!

As we have discussed in several recent posts about Trapezoideus, Beringiana, Leoparreysia, and others, genera and species have spawned in East Asia like a zombie contagion over the last few years — so much so that East Asia now eclipses North America as the regional freshwater mussel hotspot. While North America has been lying moldering at 302 species, East Asia — as if animated by lightning — has lurched forward in species richness to 322. Like any good horror story, expect some macabre sequels as more data burst forth like that thing in Alien.


Phylum Mollusca
Class Bivalvia
Subclass Palaeoheterodonta
Order Unionoida

Superfamily UNIONOIDEA Rafinesque, 1820
Family UNIONIDAE s.s.
Subfamily GONIDEINAE Ortmann, 1916
Tribe PSEUDODONTINI Frierson, 1927
Subtribe PILSBRYOCONCHINA Bolotov, Vikhrev & Tumpeesuwan, 2017

Genus Bineurus Simpson, 1900

Species Bineurus mouhotii (Lea, 1863)

To find out more about Bineurus and the classification of East Asian freshwater mussels, check out:
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