Accurate taxonomic and distributional information are arguably the most critical components of conservation status assessments but can be greatly affected by misidentifications. The Louisiana pigtoe Pleurobema riddellii is a freshwater mussel proposed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. The species belongs to the tribe Pleurobemini, which includes multiple taxa that are inherently challenging to identify without molecular data. We validated historical and recent survey records of P. riddellii using a combination of DNA sequence data and morphological characters to provide a more definitive assessment of range and spatiotemporal trends in distribution. Our comprehensive assessment identified specimens collected from the Pearl drainage as P. riddellii, extending the species’ known range into eastern Gulf of Mexico drainages. Contemporary records were unavailable from the Trinity drainage; however, we designed novel minibarcode PCR primers and used historical DNA from a specimen collected in the late 1800s to confirm the historical presence of P. riddellii at the species’ type locality in the Trinity River near Dallas, Texas, USA. Our range-wide genetic diversity assessment provides strong support for 2 main geographic groups, the Ouachita and all remaining populations, with individuals from the Pearl and Trinity drainages sharing haplotypes with conspecifics from other drainages. Available data suggest P. riddellii has been extirpated from a significant portion of the historical range, including the entire Trinity drainage. Additional surveys in Lake Pontchartrain, Trinity, and other drainages in the eastern periphery of the species’ range may provide additional clarity on the distribution and conservation status of P. riddellii.
|Title||Molecular data validate historical and contemporary distributions of Pleurobema riddellii (Bivalvia: Unionidae) and help guide conservation and recovery efforts|
|Authors||Nathan Johnson, Caitlin Beaver, Alexander H. Kiser, Matthew A. Duplessis, Matthew D. Wagner, Robert J. Ellwanger, Clinton R. Robertson, Sean D. Kinney, Beau B. Gregory, Steve Wolverton, Charles R. Randklev, Paul D. Hartfield, James D. Williams, Chase H. Smith|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Endangered Species Research|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Wetland and Aquatic Research Center|