A comprehensive approach uncovers hidden diversity in freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae) with the description of a novel species
Authors: Kentaro Inouea, John L. Harris, Clinton R. Robertson, Nathan A. Johnson and Charles R. Randklev
Major geological processes have shaped biogeographical patterns of riverine biota. The Edwards Plateau of central Texas, USA, exhibits unique aquatic communities and endemism, including several species of freshwater mussels. Lampsilis bracteata (Gould, 1855) is endemic to the Edwards Plateau region; however, its phylogenetic relationship with other species in the Gulf coastal rivers and Mississippi River basin is unknown. We evaluated phylogenetic relationships, shell morphologies and soft anatomy characters of L. bracteata and a closely related congener, Lampsilis hydiana (Lea, 1838) throughout their ranges. Our results showed the presence of an undescribed species: Lampsilis bergmanni sp.n. Lampsilis bracteata and L. bergmanni sp.n. share similar shell morphologies and soft anatomy characters; however, they are genetically distinct. Geological processes, such as faulting and sea-level changes during the Miocene to Pliocene, are likely to have facilitated diversification of Lampsilis species, resulting in isolation of L. bracteata on the Edwards Plateau and diversification between L. bergmanni sp.n. and L. hydiana. We conclude that L. bracteata range is restricted to the Colorado River basin, whereas L. bergmanni sp.n. occurs only in upstream reaches of the Guadalupe River basin. Conservation actions are warranted for both species due to their restricted distributions and potential anthropogenic threats.