Expansion and systematics redefinition of the most threatened freshwater mussel family, the Margaritiferidae

Manuel Lopes-Lima, Ivan N. Bolotov, Van Tu Do, David C. Aldridge, Miguel M. Fonseca, Han Ming Gan, Mikhail Y. Gofarov, Alexander V. Kondakov, Vincent Prié, Ronaldo Sousa, Simone Varandas, Ilya V. Vikhrev, Amílcar Teixeira, Rui Wen Wu, Xiaoping Wu, Alexandra Zieritz, Elsa Froufe, Arthur E. Bogan

Research output

24 Citations (Scopus)


Two Unionida (freshwater mussel) families are present in the Northern Hemisphere; the Margaritiferidae, representing the most threatened of unionid families, and the Unionidae, which include several genera of unresolved taxonomic placement. The recent reassignment of the poorly studied Lamprotula rochechouartii from the Unionidae to the Margaritiferidae motivated a new search for other potential species of margaritiferids from members of Gibbosula and Lamprotula. Based on molecular and morphological analyses conducted on newly collected specimens from Vietnam, we here assign Gibbosula crassa to the Margaritiferidae. Additionally, we reanalyzed all diagnostic characteristics of the Margaritiferidae and examined museum specimens of Lamprotula and Gibbosula. As a result, two additional species are also moved to the Margaritiferidae, i.e. Gibbosula confragosa and Gibbosula polysticta. We performed a robust five marker phylogeny with all available margaritiferid species and discuss the taxonomy within the family. The present phylogeny reveals the division of Margaritiferidae into four ancient clades with distinct morphological, biogeographical and ecological characteristics that justify the division of the Margaritiferidae into two subfamilies (Gibbosulinae and Margaritiferinae) and four genera (Gibbosula, Cumberlandia, Margaritifera, and Pseudunio). The systematics of the Margaritiferidae family is re-defined as well as their distribution, potential origin and main biogeographic patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-118
Number of pages21
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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    Lopes-Lima, M., Bolotov, I. N., Do, V. T., Aldridge, D. C., Fonseca, M. M., Gan, H. M., Gofarov, M. Y., Kondakov, A. V., Prié, V., Sousa, R., Varandas, S., Vikhrev, I. V., Teixeira, A., Wu, R. W., Wu, X., Zieritz, A., Froufe, E., & Bogan, A. E. (2018). Expansion and systematics redefinition of the most threatened freshwater mussel family, the Margaritiferidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 127, 98-118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2018.04.041