Actively monitoring the timing, development, and reproductive patterns of endangered species is critical when managing for population recovery. Freshwater mussels are among the most imperiled organisms in the world, but information about early larval (glochidial) development and brooding periods is still lacking for many species. Previous studies have focused on the complex life history stage when female mussels are ready to parasitize host fish, but few studies have focused on the brooding period and timing of larval development. The protocol described here allows researchers to non-lethally evaluate the state of gravidity for female mussels. The results of this study show that this method does not affect a female mussel’s ability to stay gravid or become gravid again after sampling has been performed. The advantage of this method may permit its use on federally threatened or endangered species or other populations of high conservation concern. This protocol can be adapted for use on both preserved or live individuals and was tested on a variety of mussel species. The database provided is a repository for a breadth of information on timing of reproductive habits and will facilitate future freshwater mussel research, conservation, and recovery efforts.
|Title||Standardizing a non-lethal method for characterizing the reproductive status and larval development of freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionoida)|
|Authors||Caitlin Beaver, Susan Geda, Nathan Johnson|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Journal of Visualized Experiments|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Wetland and Aquatic Research Center|