Re: NANFA-- RE: Mollusks

Jeremy Tiemann (
Tue, 9 Mar 2004 09:14:26 -0600

Matt pretty much 'hit the nail on the head.' Freshwater mussels can
withstand limited drought conditions... they just seal themselves up
and wait for water. The length of survival time without water
depends on a variety of factors (temp, amount of time in sun,
moistness of substrate, humidity, etc). Some freshwater mussels can
withstand drought conditions better than others.

This can be tied into conservation issues: one reason why flow
regulation from dams is a major problem is that when freshwater
mussels move (albeit very slowly), they can become stranded and left
'high and dry' when the governing body of the dam decides to
significantly reduce the amount of discharge.

>Youd be surprised how well a mussel can withstand desication as long
>as it is kept somewhat damp. The bags we use to collect are a
>really absorbant sythetic and the mesh just sucks up
>water...inadvertantly some juvies fall out of the bag and weve found
>them alive in the gunnels of the boats in some damp sand weeks and
>weeks later...they kinda go dormant im sure Jeremy can elaborate
>more on this a bit more specifically I just know from what ive seen
>in surveys. My guess is this is some sort of fingernail clam though
>but again all it needs is a fish to drop it off once its larval and
>we all know how fish can get into anything. Especialyl that being
>right next to the Miss im sure a nice rain goes over the banks and
>bammoo you have fish dropping glochidia off.

Jeremy Tiemann
Biological Field Assistant
Illinois Natural History Survey
Center for Biodiversity
607 E. Peabody Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820
Telephone: (217) 244-4594
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