Mantle display and glochidia release behaviors of five quadruline freshwater mussel species (Bivalvia: Unionidae)

Bernard E. Sietman, J. Mike Davis, Mark C. Hove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Diverse strategies have evolved in freshwater mussels to promote the transfer of their parasitic larvae to host fish. Among these, modification of the mantle as a host attracting lure has been well-documented in the Tribe Lampsilini, but only recently reported in the Tribe Quadrulini. Here we describe mantle modifications and glochidia release behaviors in five quadruline species, including members of the Quadrula quadrula (Rafinesque, 1820), Q. pustulosa (Lea, 1831), and Q. metanevra (Rafinesque, 1820) species groups. Displays were motionless and consisted of inflated mantle tissue surrounding the excurrent aperture. Gross display morphology was largely variable among species: Q. fragosa (Conrad, 1835) and Tritogonia verrucosa (Rafinesque, 1820) had relatively large, uniquely shaped displays; Cyclonaias tuberculata (Rafinesque, 1820) and Q. pustulosa had smaller, stomate-shaped displays; and Q. metanevra had a diminutive, polyp-like display. Cyclonaias tuberculata exhibited a bimodal host infection strategy where individuals had either a mantle display or released a gelatinous conglutinate. Quadrula pustulosa and Q. metanevra expelled glochidia in a forceful burst when their displays were touched. Quadruline mantle displays do not clearly mimic identifiable aquatic organisms suggesting they may represent non-specific food items to their fish hosts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Malacological Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012


  • Cyclonaias
  • Quadrula
  • Tritogonia
  • fish lure
  • life history


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