Freshwater mussels house a diverse mussel-associated leech assemblage

Ivan N. Bolotov, Anna L. Klass, Alexander V. Kondakov, Ilya V. Vikhrev, Yulia V. Bespalaya, Mikhail Yu. Gofarov, Boris Yu. Filippov, Arthur E. Bogan, Manuel Lopes-Lima, Lau Zunn, Nyein Chan, Olga V. Aksenova, Gennady A. Dvoryankin, Yulia E. Chapurina, Sang Ki Kim, Yulia S. Kolosova, Ekaterina S. Konopleva, Jin Hee Lee, Alexander A. Makhrov, Dmitry M. PalatovElena M. Sayenko, Vitaly M. Spitsyn, Svetlana E. Sokolova, Alena A. Tomilova, Than Win, Natalia A. Zubrii, Maxim V. Vinarski

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Freshwater mussels (Unionida) are one of the most imperiled animal groups worldwide, revealing the fastest rates of extinction. Habitat degradation, river pollution and climate change are the primary causes of global decline. However, biological threats for freshwater mussels are still poorly known. Here, we describe a diverse ecological group of leeches (Hirudinea: Glossiphoniidae) inhabiting the mantle cavity of freshwater mussels. So far, examples of mussel-associated leech species are recorded from East Asia, Southeast Asia, India and Nepal, Africa, and North America. This group comprises a dozen glossiphoniid species with a hidden life style inside the mantle cavity of their hosts largely overlooked by researchers. We show that the association with freshwater mussels evolved independently in three leech clades, i.e. Batracobdelloides, Hemiclepsis, and Placobdella, at least since the Miocene. Seven mussel-associated leech species and two additional free-living taxa are described
here as new to science
Original languageEnglish
Article number16449
Number of pages22
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2019

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    Bolotov, I. N., Klass, A. L., Kondakov, A. V., Vikhrev, I. V., Bespalaya, Y. V., Gofarov, M. Y., Filippov, B. Y., Bogan, A. E., Lopes-Lima, M., Zunn, L., Chan, N., Aksenova, O. V., Dvoryankin, G. A., Chapurina, Y. E., Kim, S. K., Kolosova, Y. S., Konopleva, E. S., Lee, J. H., Makhrov, A. A., ... Vinarski, M. V. (2019). Freshwater mussels house a diverse mussel-associated leech assemblage. Scientific Reports, 9, [16449].