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Lifting the curtain on the freshwater mussel diversity of the Italian Peninsula and Croatian Adriatic coast

Froufe, Elsa; Lopes-Lima, Manuel; Riccardi, Nicoletta; Zaccara, Serena; Vanetti, Isabella; Lajtner, Jasna; Teixeira, Am�lcar; Varandas, Simone; Pri�, Vincent; Zieritz, Alexandra; Sousa, Ronaldo; Bogan, Arthur E.


Elsa Froufe

Manuel Lopes-Lima

Nicoletta Riccardi

Serena Zaccara

Isabella Vanetti

Jasna Lajtner

Am�lcar Teixeira

Simone Varandas

Vincent Pri�

Ronaldo Sousa

Arthur E. Bogan


Freshwater mussels of the order Unionida have been dramatically declining globally. Despite their ecological importance, conservation of these animals has been hindered by unresolved taxonomy and a lack of data on the distribution and status of populations, especially in southern Europe. Although the Italian Peninsula has been noted as a centre of endemism and one of the major refugia of the glacial ages for several taxa, few studies have been performed on the genetic diversity of Unionida. Most importantly, the taxonomic status of several freshwater mussel populations of the Italian Peninsula is still unresolved. Here we present the first comprehensive dataset for the Unionida of the region spanning Italy and the coastal Croatian region (west of the Dinaric Alps). In total, 191 specimens were collected (85 Anodonta, 64 Unio, 17 Microcondylaea bonellii and 25 Sinanodonta woodiana) from 34 sites across the Italian Peninsula and coastal Croatian river basins for molecular identification (COI, 16S and 28S). Genetic analyses were performed to understand major phylogenetic and phylogeographic patterns. Seven species were detected: three Anodonta species (A. anatina, A. cygnea and A. exulcerata), two Unio species (U. mancus and U. elongatulus), Microcondylaea bonellii, and the invasive Sinanodonta woodiana. The presence of three endemic species (A. exulcerata, U. elongatulus and M. bonellii) confirms the importance of the region as a centre of endemism for freshwater mussels. The Apennine Mountains act as an important biogeographic barrier.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 10, 2017
Online Publication Date Jul 18, 2017
Publication Date Dec 1, 2017
Deposit Date Feb 14, 2019
Journal Biodiversity and Conservation
Print ISSN 0960-3115
Electronic ISSN 1572-9710
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 14
Pages 3255-3274
Public URL
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