Distribution and life history of the endangered James Spinymussel, pieurobema collina (bivalvia: unionidae)
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Female P. collina were gravid from late May through early August 1988 and 1989 in Craig Creek, Virginia, and the South Fork Potts Creek, West Virginia. Glochidia were released from late June through early July in the South Fork Potts Creek, at mean water temperatures between 21 and 25 Â°C, and discharges between 0.013 and 0.050 m l/sec.
Field observations and laboratory tests confirmed that cyprinids serve as fish hosts for P. collina glochidia. Glochidia of the James spinymussel were identified on the common shiner (Notropis cornutus), rosyside dace (Clinostomus funduloides), bluehead chub (Nocomis leptocephalus), pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus), and fantail darter (Etheostoma flabellare) in the South Fork Potts Creek. Eleven fish families were tested for suitability as fish hosts in the laboratory, but only the following 7 species served as hosts: bluehead chub (N. leptocephalus), rosyside dace (C. funduloides), satinfin shiner (N. analostanus), rosefin shiner (N. ardens), central stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum), blacknose dace (Rhinichthys atratulus), and mountain redbelly dace (Phoxinus oreas).
Juvenile P. collina, fed a mixture of three green algae species in chambers with and without silt, lived 50 days. Juveniles in silt grew significantly faster than those not in silt after 18 days. Age and growth characteristics of adults were obtained by thin-sectioning valves collected in muskrat middens in Dicks and Johns creeks, Virginia. Ages ranged between 3 and 19 yr, and a strong year class was identified at age 11. Mean annual mortality rate was calculated to be 9.8%.
As predicted by the von Bertalanffy growth equation, P. collina reaches a maximum length of 74.4 mm, and annual growth increments decrease from 7.04 mm/yr (age 1) to 0.88 mm/yr (age 19).
As judged by qualitative surveys, current populations of P. collina in Craig Creek, Johns Creek, and the South Fork Potts Creek appear to be self-sustaining. Populations in Catawba and Patterson creeks appear to be small and are probably in jeopardy of being extirpated. The status of the James spinymussel in Dicks Creek, Rocky Run, and Pedlar and Mechums rivers is unknown since these streams were not extensively surveyed.
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