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Review of the invasive Asian clam Corbicula spp. (Bivalvia: Cyrenidae) distribution in North America, 1924–2019

March 1, 2021

The bivalve Corbicula is one of the most successful aquatic mollusk invaders in the world. Since being intro­duced to North America from its native range in Asia, it has dispersed widely over a large portion of the continent from southern Canada to Panama. The first evidence of its introduc­tion in the Western Hemisphere was discovered in 1924 in British Columbia, Canada. A review of distribution records from natural history museums, scientific literature, Federal and State agencies, universities, and oral and written commu­nications with scientists has shown the continued dispersal of Corbicula in North America. Since the most recent compre­hensive review of its distribution information through the mid-1980s, Corbicula has been found in an additional 2 Canadian Provinces, 10 U.S. States and Puerto Rico, 9 Mexican States, Cuba, and Panama. The known distribution in North America now includes 47 U.S. States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, 3 Canadian Provinces, 16 Mexican States, Cuba, and Panama. Corbicula has been found in three of the Laurentian Great Lakes (Erie, Michigan, Superior) primarily associated with industrial warmwater effluent refugia. Problems associ­ated with Corbicula populations were widely realized not long after its arrival and included negative impacts to power generation, industrial water supply operations, and agricultural water conveyance. In natural settings, impacts on native mus­sels such as altering nutrient cycling, food webs, and sediment distribution dynamics have occurred. In past decades, control of established open water populations had not been a manage­ment priority. With a relatively recent interest in eradication of small, newly established populations, several attempts were made in the United States but were unsuccessful. Recent molecular genetic analyses provide evidence of multiple species and (or) genetically and morphologically distinguish­able “forms” in North America. However, the number and identification of Corbicula species in North America remain unresolved. It appears likely that more than one species of Corbicula has been introduced into U.S. waters.

Publication Year 2021
Title Review of the invasive Asian clam Corbicula spp. (Bivalvia: Cyrenidae) distribution in North America, 1924–2019
DOI 10.3133/sir20215001
Authors Amy J. Benson, James D. Williams
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2021-5001
Index ID sir20215001
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center