Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Corbicula fluminea
(Asian clam)

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Datasheet

Corbicula fluminea (Asian clam)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 29 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Corbicula fluminea
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Asian clam
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Mollusca
  •       Class: Bivalvia
  •         Subclass: Heterodonta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • C. fluminea is an inland water, filter-feeding bivalve native to southeast Asia but causing numerous problems in its new range of distribution in the Americas, Europe and Australia. C. fluminea spreads whe...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Corbicula fluminea (Asian clam); a collection of live clam shells at various stages of development.
TitleCollection of live clam shells
CaptionCorbicula fluminea (Asian clam); a collection of live clam shells at various stages of development.
Copyright©Crown Copyright-2009/GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (GB NNSS)
Corbicula fluminea (Asian clam); a collection of live clam shells at various stages of development.
Collection of live clam shellsCorbicula fluminea (Asian clam); a collection of live clam shells at various stages of development.©Crown Copyright-2009/GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (GB NNSS)
Corbicula fluminea (Asian clam); clam shells at various stages of development. Note Biro for scale.
TitleClam shells at various stages of development
CaptionCorbicula fluminea (Asian clam); clam shells at various stages of development. Note Biro for scale.
Copyright©Crown Copyright-2009/GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (GB NNSS)
Corbicula fluminea (Asian clam); clam shells at various stages of development. Note Biro for scale.
Clam shells at various stages of developmentCorbicula fluminea (Asian clam); clam shells at various stages of development. Note Biro for scale.©Crown Copyright-2009/GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (GB NNSS)
Corbicula fluminea (Asian clam); single shell. Note scale against pen tip.
TitleShell
CaptionCorbicula fluminea (Asian clam); single shell. Note scale against pen tip.
Copyright©Crown Copyright-2009/GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (GB NNSS)
Corbicula fluminea (Asian clam); single shell. Note scale against pen tip.
ShellCorbicula fluminea (Asian clam); single shell. Note scale against pen tip.©Crown Copyright-2009/GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (GB NNSS)

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Corbicula fluminea (Müller, 1774)

Preferred Common Name

  • Asian clam

Other Scientific Names

  • Corbicula fluminalis (Müller, 1774)
  • Corbicula leana (Prime, 1864)
  • Corbicula manilensis (Philippi, 1844)
  • Tellina fluminea Müller, 1774

International Common Names

  • English: Asiatic clam; prosperity clam
  • Spanish: almeja Asiatica
  • French: clam asiatique

Local Common Names

  • Korea, Republic of: black clam; jaecheop; kkamak jogae
  • Netherlands: Aziatische korfmossel
  • Taiwan: freshwater clam

Summary of Invasiveness

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C. fluminea is an inland water, filter-feeding bivalve native to southeast Asia but causing numerous problems in its new range of distribution in the Americas, Europe and Australia. C. fluminea spreads when it is attached to boats or carried in ballast water, used as bait, sold through the aquarium trade and carried with water currents. Its reproductive success and ability to spread rapidly has resulted in this species having one of the most rapid expansions of any non-native species in North America. Before the invasion of the zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha, in North America, C. fluminea was described by McMahon (1983) as ‘one of the most important molluscan pest species ever introduced into the United States’. Aldridge and Muller (2001) review the potential impacts that the spread of C. fluminea may have on British industry and aquatic systems.

In the DAISIE project, C. fluminea is listed on the 100 worst invasive species.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Mollusca
  •             Class: Bivalvia
  •                 Subclass: Heterodonta
  •                     Order: Veneroida
  •                         Unknown: Corbiculoidea
  •                             Family: Corbiculidae
  •                                 Genus: Corbicula
  •                                     Species: Corbicula fluminea

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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In the attempt to end ecomorphotype confusion in the Asia range, Morton (1986) recognizes only two species: Corbicula fluminea a freshwater species and all estuarine dioceous non-brooding species as C. fluminalis. However, this division was refuted when several phylogenetic studies showed clear differences among species (Hillis and Patton, 1982; Hatsumi et al., 1995; Lee and Kim, 1997; Renard et al., 2000; Siripattrawan et al., 2000).

Description

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C. fluminea is a small clam with an inflated shell, slightly round to triangular in shape. The most distinctive feature is the shell which bears numerous heavy concentric ridges. The shell is usually pale brownish or yellowish brown, olivaceous to black. Internally there are three cardinal teeth in each valve and the lateral teeth are heavily serrated. The nacre varies from white to salmon or deep purple. Qiu et al. (2001) reported yellow and brown shell colour morphs amongst specimens collected from Anyue County in Sichuan Province in China. The shells of the yellow morphs were straw yellow on the outside and white on the inside; those of brown morphs were dark brown and purple, respectively. Further analyses revealed that the yellow and brown morphs are triploid and tetraploid, respectively. Both morphs were simultaneous hermaphrodites and brood their larvae in the inner demibranchs. The life span is about one to seven years, and it can grow to a shell length of 50-65 mm, although it is usually less than 25 mm. Larvae are D-shaped and weakly calcified, the hinge edge does not present irregularities and no structures are observed.

Distribution

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Although C. fluminea is a freshwater species native to southern and eastern Asia (Russia, Thailand, Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Japan) and Africa (Britton and Morton, 1979), it is now found in freshwater and salt water throughout the USA, including all five Gulf states and northern Mexico, and much of Europe. The presence of C. fluminea in South America has also been documented (Ituarte, 1981, 1994).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Sea Areas

Atlantic, Eastern CentralPresentIntroduced Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999
Atlantic, NortheastPresentIntroduced Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999
Atlantic, SoutheastPresentIntroduced Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999
Atlantic, SouthwestPresentIntroduced Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999
Atlantic, Western CentralPresentIntroduced Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999
Indian Ocean, EasternPresentNative Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999
Pacific, NorthwestPresentNative Invasive Chen, 1976
Pacific, SoutheastPresentIntroduced Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999
Pacific, Western CentralPresentIntroduced Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999

Asia

ChinaPresentNative Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999
-Hong KongPresentNative Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999
JapanPresentNative Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999
Korea, Republic ofPresentNative Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999
PhilippinesPresentNative Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999
TaiwanPresentNative Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999
ThailandPresentNative Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999

North America

CanadaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1981
-British ColumbiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1981
MexicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
USAPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-AlabamaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-ArizonaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-ArkansasPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-CaliforniaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-ColoradoPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-ConnecticutPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-DelawarePresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-FloridaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-GeorgiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-IdahoPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-IllinoisPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-IndianaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-IowaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-KansasPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-KentuckyPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-LouisianaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-MarylandPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-MichiganPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-MinnesotaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-MississippiPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-MissouriPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-NebraskaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-NevadaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-New JerseyPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-New MexicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-New YorkPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-North CarolinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-OhioPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-OklahomaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-OregonPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-South CarolinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-South DakotaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-TennesseePresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-TexasPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-UtahPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-VirginiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-WashingtonPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-West VirginiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986
-WisconsinPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts, 1986

Central America and Caribbean

PanamaPresentIntroduced Invasive Counts et al., 2003

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Ituarte, 1981
BrazilPresentIntroduced Invasive Duarte and Diefenbach, 1994
-Rio Grande do SulAbsent, unreliable recordIntroduced Invasive Martins et al., 2006Corbicula fluminea, Corbicula largillierti and C. aff. fluminalis in Guaiba Lake
UruguayPresentIntroduced Invasive Ituarte, 1994
VenezuelaPresentIntroduced Invasive Martinez, 1987

Europe

BelgiumPresentIntroduced Invasive Nguyen and Pauw, 2002
Czech RepublicPresentIntroduced Invasive Beran, 2000
FrancePresentMouthon, 1981
GermanyPresentIntroduced Invasive Bij de Vaate, 1991
NetherlandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Bij and de Vaate Greijdanus-Klaas, 1990
PortugalPresentIntroduced Invasive Mouthon, 1981; Nagel, 1989
Russian FederationPresentNative Invasive Aguirre and Poss, 1999
SerbiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Paunovic et al., 2007
SpainPresentIntroduced Invasive Araujo et al., 1993
SwitzerlandRestricted distributionIntroduced1995 Invasive Schmidlin and Baur, 2007; Schmidlin et al., 2012
UKPresentIntroduced Invasive Aldridge and Muller, 2001

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive Britton and Morton, 1979

History of Introduction and Spread

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Introduced to North America towards the end of the nineteenth century, C. fluminea has spread rapidly and established itself throughout the Americas to become an integral part of the benthic community (Counts, 1986). It was probably brought into the USA by Chinese immigrants as a source of food. It was first documented in North America in 1924 (Counts, 1981) and was abundant in many catchments in eastern and western USA by 1957 (McMahon, 1983).

In Europe, C. fluminea was reported from Portugal (Mouthon, 1981), France (Mouthon, 1981), the Netherlands (bij de Vaate and Greijdanus-Klaas, 1990), Germany (bij de Vaate, 1991), Spain (Araujo et al., 1993), Czech Republic (Beran, 2000), the UK (Aldridge and Muller, 2001), Belgium (Nguyen and Pauw, 2002) and Switzerland (Schmidlin and Baur, 2007). It was found in the River Garonne in France in 1980-1981, in Germany’s River Weser in 1983, and the River Rhine in 1987. By 1991, it was common throughout the lower and middle Rhine system (Den Hartog et al., 1992). It was first recorded in Switzerland (Basel) in 1995. By 2003 it was found 22 km upstream of Basel indicating a mean upstream spread of 2.4 km per year and dispersal beyond the reach of cargo shipping (Schmidlin and Bauer, 2007). Clams were newly recorded in several Swiss lowland lakes whose interconnecting rivers have not yet been colonized during 2003-2010 indicating dispersal by human activites and/or waterfowl (Schmidlin et al., 2012).

In Serbia, dense populations of C. fluminea were first recorded between 1980 and 1995 (Paunovic et al., 2007). Introduction of C. fluminea in Lake Garda, Italy, is reported to be due to stocking activities (Gherardi et al., 2008) and this particular lake has been invaded by others species, in past decades, suggesting the vulnerability of this ecosystem (Casellato et al., 2006; 2007; Ciutii and Cappelletti, 2009).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Argentina 1981 Unknown Yes No Cazzaniga and Pérez (1999); Ituarte (1994)
Belgium 1990s Unknown Yes No Nguyen and Pauw (2002)
Czech Republic 1999 Unknown Yes No Beran (2000)
France Unknown Yes No Renard et al. (2000)
Germany 1988 Unknown Yes No Bij de Vaate (1991)
UK 1997 Unknown Yes No Aldridge and Muller (2001)
Uruguay Unknown Yes No Ituarte (1994)

Risk of Introduction

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In Europe, inland waterways facilitate the spread of invasive alien species (Ketelaars, 2004; Galil and Minchin, 2006; Galil et al., 2007; Panov et al., 2007; 2009a; Gherardi et al., 2008). The potential for species to expand their range has been enhanced by increasing trade and the construction of canals. The waterways in Europe occur at low altitudes and presently the main European corridor routes consist of an interlinked network of 30 main canals with more than 100 branches, and more than 350 ports (Gallil et al., 2007; Panov et al., 2007).

Europe’s approved laws on improving water quality may facilitate invasion by providing better environmental conditions for all stages of life of the invader (Karatayev et al., 2007) as this seems to be correlated with the reinvasion of zebra mussel in some European rivers (Bij de Vaate et al., 1992; Jantz and Neumann, 1992; Burlakova, 1998) and other invasive species in the Laurentian Great Lakes (of North America; Mills et al., 2003). The improved water quality could enhance Corbicula populations at the early stages because C. fluminea are quite sensitive to pollution (Cataldo et al., 2001a; Karateyev et al., 2007).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Brackish
Estuaries Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Estuaries Principal habitat Natural
Estuaries Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Inland saline areas Principal habitat Natural
Inland saline areas Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Lagoons Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Lagoons Principal habitat Natural
Lagoons Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Freshwater
Irrigation channels Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Lakes Present, no further details Natural
Lakes Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Ponds Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Reservoirs Principal habitat Natural
Reservoirs Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Rivers / streams Principal habitat Natural
Rivers / streams Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Littoral
Intertidal zone Principal habitat Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Corbicula sp. show a wide genetic variation related to polyploidy, or the processes of deletion, androgenesis and clonality, with mechanistically diverse genetic interactions amongst clones of Corbicula (Komaru et al., 1997; 1998; Komaru and Konishi, 1999; Qiu et al., 2001; Pfenninger et al., 2002; Lee et al., 2005; Hedtke et al., 2008).

Diploids of C. fluminea and C. papyracea have equal chromosomical set groups composed of 18 chromosomes and in a similar arrangement compared to C. fluminalis (Okamoto and Arimoto, 1986; Komaru and Konishi, 1999; Park et al., 2000; Qui et al., 2001; Lee et al., 2002).
 
In the Rhine River there exists evidence of cryptic hybridization between C. fluminea and C. fluminalis. The hybrid specimens were rare in abundance compared to the two major forms and they did not reach the adult stage (Pfenninger et al., 2002).
 
Reproductive Biology
 
Recent investigations suggest a similar mode of reproduction in C. fluminea, C. fluminalis, C. leana and C. australis (Morton, 1986; Araujo et al., 1993; Komaru et al., 1997; 2000; Byrne et al., 2000; Korniushin, 2004).

This genus exhibits a wide variety of reproductive strategies, involving sexually reproducing species with both sexes or hermaphrodites and several other unusual reproductive features, ranging from oviparity and ovoviviparity to euviviparity (Ituarte, 1994; Byrne et al., 2000; Glaubrecht et al., 2003; Korniushin and Glaubrecht, 2003).

Siripattrawan et al. (2000) suggested that all freshwater species in the genus Corbicula should be considered clonal lineages. However, this does not apply in European populations since here morphotypes assigned to C. fluminea are meiotic and capable of hybridization with C. fluminalis (Pfenninger et al., 2002). Correlation with spermatozoa morphology and reproductive mode was characterized in Corbicula by biflagellated sperm, which are considered a marker for androgenesis, and presence of monoflagellated spermatozoa, indicating sexual reproduction (Glaubrecht et al., 2003McKone and Halpern, 2003; Ishibashi et al., 2003). 
 
Spawning can occur throughout the year at water temperatures of 16°C or higher. Fertilization occurs inside the paleal cavity and larvae are incubated in the gills. Larvae can be densely packed in the interlamellar space or irregularly distributed (Korniushin, 2004). C. fluminea releases the veligers of c. 250 µm length into the water column through the siphon (King et al., 1986; Kennedy et al., 1991).Larvae produced in late spring and early summer reach sexual maturity by the following autumn. A single individual can release 400 juveniles a day and up to 70,000 a year, with reproductive rates being highest in the autumn (Aguirre and Poss, 1999).
 
Reproductive forms with androgenesis have been recorded in C.fluminea (Korniushin, 2004) and in another three species: C.leana (Komaru et al., 1998), C.fluminalis (Ishibashi et al., 2003) and C.australis (Byrne et al., 2000). Fecundation occurs and the oocyte ejects the entire maternal nuclear genome as two polar bodies (Komaru et al., 1998; 2000; Ishibashi et al., 2003). The descendents remain with the paternal genetic information, but retains the mitochondria. However, Hedtke et al. (2008), analysing androgenic lineages of Corbicula sp. in the American continent, found mtDNA contamination corroborating earlier findings by Lee et al. (2005), and gives the egg parasitism process as the probable explanation for disruption in mtDNA lineages.
 
Physiology and Phenology
 
Morton (1986) reported that C. fluminea and C. fluminalis do not overlap in their distributions in any ecosystem. Yet mixed populations of the two species have been found in the Dutch, German and French parts of the River Rhine (Rajagopal et al., 2000; Nguyen and Pauw, 2002; Bernauer and Jansen, 2006), in the River Mosel (Bachman et al., 1997), the Serbian Danube (Paunovic et al., 2007) and lakes in Italy (Ciutti and Cappelletii, 2009).
 
In Europe, in terms of abundance, the data are variable; examples given include Italy, where living specimens of C. fluminea and C. fluminalis have maximum densities of 19 individuals m-2 and 5 individuals m-2, respectively (Ciutti and Cappelletti, 2009). In Hungary C. fluminalis relative abundance is high with reported abundances of 36.5 individuals m-2 and C. fluminea has a high peak of 16.5 individuals m-2 (Bódis et al., 2008).
 
In the invaded range in Europe the sympatric populations of C. fluminea and C. fluminalis have been studied to explain this coexistence (Rajagopal et al., 2000; Mouthon and Parghentanian, 2004; Bódis et al., 2007).
 
In central France, in invaded canals, C. fluminalis has two reproductive periods, the first one in winter with a low number of larvae produced and the second extending from March to October, with a peak density in June and July (Mouthon and Parghentanian, 2004). In four cohorts, the life span is four years and with a maximum length of 24 mm in collected specimens. In the same ecosystem C. fluminea has one reproductive season from March to September/October, with two peaks in June and August, the presence of 5 cohorts, longevity from 2.5 to 3 years and with maximum specimens reaching 36 mm. The incubation and spawning periods seem to be triggered by unexpected falls in chlorophyll-a concentration) (Mouthon and Parghentanian, 2004). According to Rajagopal et al. (2000), C. fluminalis reveals a better tolerance of low temperatures than C. fluminea, its minimal temperature for reproduction being 6ºC.
 
Rajagopal et al. (2000) studied the co-existance of C. fluminea and C. fluminalis in the Rhine River. The survival of both species was explained by differences in reproductive strategies and possible food preferences (Rajagopal et al., 2000). The reproductive season is in non-overlapping periods; the restraining temperature for reproduction of C. fluminea only allows two release peaks of pediveliger larvae in May/June and September, and the more resilient C. fluminalis release their gametes in October/November and in March/April. Both species have a second peak that is shorter and lower in percentage in spawning. The spawning of C. fluminea is positively correlated with chlorophyll-a content in the water column (Rajagopal et al., 2000). In contrast to C. fluminalis, body mass increased from December to March, when chlorophyll-a concentrations were very low, indicating alternative food sources for this species other than algae (e.g. bacterioplankton, detritus). In terms of allocated energy for reproduction C. fluminea spends 51% in May and 21% in September, much more than C. fluminalis which spends 33% in October and 20% in March. Rajagopal et al. (2000) define C. fluminalis as dioecious with a very low percentage of hermaphrodites and C. fluminea as hermaphrodite with an incubation larval strategy.
 
Another example is in cooling water channel of the Paks nuclear plant, central Hungary, where C. fluminalis has one reproductive period identified in June. Meanwhile, C. fluminea has two reproductive periods: one in the winter and the second in June. Compared with the C. fluminea population situated upstream of Budapest a different reproductive strategy was identified with two well-defined reproductive periods that occurred in June and November. The presence of heated water delayed the reproductive period at Paks (Bódis et al., 2008).
 
The discontinuity in co-inhabiting of C. fluminea and C. fluminalis in the Flemish waters in Belgium seems to corroborate the conclusions made by Rajagopal et al. (2000) that, besides reproductive strategy, spawning periods and food preferences, other environmental factors are also of importance for their co-existence (Nguyen and Pauw, 2002).
 
Populations of C. fluminea lower their filtration rates in winter and many clams seem to be inactive through this time due to lower temperatures. Although filtration rates are inversely dependent on particle suspended concentration, Corbicula sp. have a filter-feeding plasticity and alternative feed modes that enhance their invasive success (Lauritsen, 1985; Way et al., 1990).
 
Nutrition

Corbicula sp. ingest food to assure their growth and constitute the energy reserves required to develop embryos that feed from the secreting cells of the adult’s dermibranchiae (Britton and Morton, 1982). Corbiculidae are known to feed above the suspended particles (Foe and Knight, 1985; Lauritsen 1986a; Leff et al., 1990; Boltovskoy et al., 1995). However, individuals are also capable of pedal feeding using the cilia of the foot allowing them to collect organic material from the sediment (Way et al., 1990; Reid et al., 1992).
 
Hakenkamp and Palmer (1999) showed that the growth of Corbicula was optimal when both modes of nutrition, filter feeding and pedal feeding, were used.
 
Environmental Requirements
 
The Corbiculidae are burrowing bivalves. Given the sympatric distribution of C. fluminea and C. fluminalis in Europe it is possible that the sediment preferences are similar in both species (Csányi, 1999; Nguyen and Pauw, 2002; Mouthon and Parghentanian, 2004; Labêcka et al., 2005; Paunovic et al., 2007; Ciutti and Cappelleti, 2009).

For C. fluminea, ideal sediments are sand mixed with silt and clay, while rocky and pure silt exclude this species especially if the concentration of oxygen is low (Leff et al., 1990; Karatayev et al., 2003). C. fluminea inhabits by decreasing order of preference: fine sand, organically-enriched fine sand, coarse sand. However, C. fluminea can inhabit a vast variety of substrata, from fine sand to gravel (Belanger et al., 1986).

Concerning water levels, when Corbicula is exposed to low water levels long migration is inhibited and population size decreases (White and White, 1977). On the other hand, spring floods in the Ohio River (USA) cause high mortality to C. fluminea in all age classes, directly related to the increase in suspended sediments in the water column (Bickel, 1966).

Even though there are no available data for pH limits for C. fluminalis or C. fluminea, mortality rates can be enhanced by lower pH values. Asian clams were reported to be dying over 3 year period due to pH lower than 5.6 in Mosquito Creek in Florida (Kat, 1982; Karatayev et al., 2007).
 
C. fluminea is able to tolerate salinities of up to 13 ppt for short periods. If allowed to acclimate it is able to tolerate up to 24 ppt salinity. Although generally known to occur in freshwater bodies, it has been reported in brackish and estuarine habitats.
 
In a survey of the Minho River, Portugal, the major abiotic agents that influenced the distribution of C. fluminea were redox potential, nutrient concentration, water hardness, organic matter and sediment characteristics, explaining almost 60% of the total variation (Sousa et al., 2008a).
 
There are no data on C. fluminalis or C. fluminea concerning oxygen, calcium or upper and lower temperature limits (Karatayev et al., 2007). Nevertheless, in C. fluminea low dissolved oxygen inhibits growth (Belanger, 1991), and high temperatures cause mass mortalities and declines in body mass (Sousa et al., 2005; Vohmann et al., 2010). Lower temperatures prevent populations from reaching higher abundances (French and Schloesser, 1991) and/or restrict their colonization in the invasive range (Bates, 1987). Mass mortality events are described in severe low water periods associated with low temperatures in Lake Constance (Switzerland) (Werner and Rothhaupt, 2008). A population surviving 0-2°C has been reported in Michigan (USA) (Janech and Hunter, 1995).

Natural Food Sources

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Food SourceLife StageContribution to Total Food Intake (%)Details
plankton All Stages

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
BW - Desert climate Preferred < 430mm annual precipitation
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Water Tolerances

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ParameterMinimum ValueMaximum ValueTypical ValueStatusLife StageNotes
Salinity (part per thousand) 13 Optimum Adult 24 ppt can be tolerated if acclimated
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 2 30 Optimum Adult 0°C tolerated

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Acipenser Predator All Stages McMahon, 1983
Ameiurus serracanthus Predator All Stages McMahon, 1983
Aplodinotus grunniens Predator All Stages McMahon, 1983
Cyprinus carpio Predator All Stages McMahon, 1983
Ictalurus furcatus Predator All Stages McMahon, 1983
Ictiobus bubalus Predator All Stages McMahon, 1983
Ictiobus niger Predator All Stages McMahon, 1983
Lepomis macrochirus Predator All Stages McMahon, 1983
Lepomis microlophus Predator All Stages McMahon, 1983
Minytrema melanops Predator All Stages McMahon, 1983
Pimelodus maculatus Predator All Stages Garcia and Protogino, 2005
Pterodoras granulosus Predator All Stages Garcia and Protogino, 2005
Ricola macrops Predator All Stages Garcia and Protogino, 2005

Notes on Natural Enemies

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A review by Sickel (1986) lists 14 fish species, 13 duck species, raccoons, crayfish and flatworms are listed as natural predators. In a more recent survey in South America, García and Protogino (2005) recognize C. fluminea as a food source in eight fish species by clam’s presence in their guts.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

Corbicula sp. juveniles will spread passively in the water column, both in lotic or lentic ecosystems (Prezant and Chalermwat, 1984). In rivers, colonization in the downstream direction is easily achieved for the juveniles since they will be transported by the current flow or by byssal attachment to floating vegetation (Prezant and Chalermwat, 1984). However, upstream movement is thought to be via secondary transportations by animals or man (Britton and Murphy, 1977; Rodgers et al., 1977; McMahon 1983). Another dispersal tactic in C. fluminea is the secretion of long mucous threads in smaller specimens and the exhalant siphons which act as a draglines to buoy the descendents into the water column (Prezant and Chalermwat, 1984).
 
Vector Transmission (Biotic)
 
The following propagation mechanisms have been observed in C. fluminea spreading on the American continent. One of the dispersal mechanisms reported in the drainage systems in Texas of C. fluminea was via migratory birds (Britton and Murphy, 1977). The pediveliger larvae and juveniles can be transported on the feet or feathers of aquatic birds, spreading Corbicula up and downstream of rivers (McMahon, 1982). Some reports seem to support dispersion via fish; however, this must be treated with caution, because it is questionable if Corbicula could survive the conditions inside fish guts (McMahon, 1982). Even so, in Brazil (Upper Paraná River) in the fish Pterodora granulosus a considerable amount of closed C. fluminea were found at the end of its intestine (Cantanhêde et al., 2007).
 
Accidental Introduction
 
The expansion of mollusc species is closely related to anthropogenic activities. The internationalization of trade was responsible for the introduction of many species into different countries (Mills et al., 1993; Fofonoff et al., 2003; Ruiz and Carlton, 2003).
 
At a global level the common means of transportation, applied to most aquatic species, is ship ballast waters, which is the probable cause of C. fluminea introduction to the Rhine River in Europe (Gittenberger and Janssen, 1998; Bij de Vaate and Greijdanus-Klaas, 1990; Bij de Vaate, 1991; Karatayev et al., 2007). The Rhine-Meuse Delta in Rotterdam is the main continental port, and the largest port in Europe, accounting for 76.5% of the total trans-shipment in Dutch ports (Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, 2009).
 
Therefore, at local and national levels, the commercial or recreational activities in rivers and connectivity of canals are responsible for a rapid upstream colonization (Brancotte and Vincent, 2002; Panov et al., 2009a).
 
Corbicula sp. are not yet commercialized as bait in Europe as they are in the USA (Britton and Murphy, 1977; Sickel and Heyn, 1980; Brancotte and Vincent, 2002). In Europe (France), there are reports confirming the capture of C. fluminea to use as a decorative species in freshwater aquariums (Brancotte and Vincent, 2002). Tourist activities could be another potential vector of dispersal (McMahon, 1982). Accidental propagation of C. fluminea in the USA occurs by transport with sand and gravel (Counts, 1986) and larval transportation in live minnow shipments (Britton and Murphy, 1977).
 
Karatayev et al. (2007) suggest that the rate of spread of the exotic species, including C. fluminea, may be accelerated or slowed by various human activities.
 
Intentional Introduction
 
One of the proposed mechanisms for Corbicula sp. invasion in the American continent was intentional introduction. Considering the vast cultivation in aquaculture of this item in Japan and Taiwan, it was assumed that Asian immigrants possibly brought some specimens as a known source of food (Britton and Morton, 1979; McMahon, 2000).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Digestion and excretionIn the terminal part of the intestine of Pterodoras granulosus, C. fluminea clams are found intact Yes Cantanhêde et al., 2007
Disturbance Yes Panov et al., 2007
FisheriesCommercial fishing gear Yes Karatayev et al., 2007
Food Yes Britton and Morton, 1979; McMahon, 2000
Hunting, angling, sport or racingUse as bait in sport fisheries Yes Brancotte and Vincent, 2002; Karatayev et al., 2007
Interconnected waterways Yes Karatayev et al., 2007; Panov et al., 2007
Pet tradeC. fluminea reported as a decorative item for freshwater aquariums Yes Brancotte and Vincent, 2002
Self-propelled Yes Prezant and Chalermwat, 1984; Voelz et al., 1998
StockingStocking fish activities Yes Gherardi et al., 2008; Karatayev et al., 2007

Pathway Vectors

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Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Economic/livelihood Negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Native fauna Negative
Rare/protected species Negative
Transport/travel Negative

Economic Impact

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In the USA, C.fluminea is considered a pest species (Counts, 1981; Isom, 1986) and has caused millions of dollars worth of damage to intake pipes used in the power and water industries. Large numbers, both dead or alive, clog water intake pipes and the cost of removing them is estimated at about a billion US dollars each year (Anon., 2005). Juvenile C. fluminea get carried by water currents into condensers of electrical generating facilities where they attach themselves to the walls via byssus threads, growing and ultimately obstructing the flow of water (Potter and Liden, 1986). Several nuclear reactors have had to be closed down temporarily in the USA for the removal of Corbicula from the cooling systems (Isom, 1986).

In Ohio and Tennessee where river beds are dredged for sand and gravel for use as aggregation material in cement, the high densities of C. fluminea have incorporated themselves in the cement, burrowing to the surface as the cement starts to set, weakening the structure (Sinclair and Isom, 1961). In the Delta-Mendota Canal, California, with a deficient design, the accumulation of sediment and Corbicula clams reduced the canal capacity (Arthur and Cederquist, 1976).

In South America fouling problems were first recorded in power plants in Brazil in 2000 (Zampatti and Darrigan, 2001). In Russia there are reports of biofouling problems in reservoirs by Corbicula sp. in numerous locations: southern Primorye, Sakhalin and Khabarovsk (Yanov and Rakov, 2002). Control methods in the power plant industry are reviewed by Post et al. (2006).

European populations of Asian clams have not until now caused any major economic impact in industrial facilities (Swinnen et al., 1998; Paunovic et al., 2007). However, measures need to be taken before situations arise. Bachmann et al. (1997) on the Mosel River, states “the structure and the dynamics of these populations must now be carefully observed, in order to prevent possible economic and ecosystem damages” and Strauss (1982) refers to a French design system that manages to exclude fouling bivalves from cooling units.

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

C. fluminea has one of the highest filtration rates per biomass, compared to sphaeriids and unionids (McMahon, 1991). Consequentially one of the major impacts will be on reduction of planktonic communities (Cohen et al., 1984; Lauritsen, 1986b; Leff et al., 1990). The feeding behaviour of Corbicula sp. can induce wide effects in the invaded ecosystem by enhancing light penetration that increases the macrophyte coverage (Phelps, 1994a; Karatayev et al., 2007). Corbicula can also increase sedimentation rates, at local scales, as they constantly remove the seston and deposit them as faeces and pseudofaeces (Prokopovich, 1969). It is an important coupler between benthic and pelagic process because it uses organic matter from both the water column and sediments (Leff et al., 1990; Hakenkamp and Palmer, 1999). Corbicula influence macrobenthos in the partitioning of nitrogen through their motion and excretion and play an important role on primary production by recycling nitrogenous material (Yamamuro and Koike, 1993).
 
Bioturbation of sediments through bivalve movements increases water and oxygen content in the sediments, releasing nutrients and transferring metals from the sediment to the water column (Vaughn and Hakenkamp, 2001; Ciutat and Boudou, 2003).
 
Faeces and pseudofaeces of Corbicula sp. increase the organic matter in sediments (Vaughn and Hakenkamp 2001) and this situation could theoretically provide additional food for deposit feeding species (Roditi et al., 1997). However, this relationship was not observed (Hakenkamp and Palmer, 1999; Karatayev et al., 2005). Corbicula sp. feeds on sediment removing benthic bacteria, diatoms and its own deposited matter (Reid et al., 1992; Hakenkamp and Palmer, 1999).
 
Corbicula sp. as ecosystem engineers will have an impact on habitat structure, biomineralization, oxygenation and benthic planktonic community structure. It can alter the nutrient cycle and the food web structure interfering with the community stability (Mattice, 1979; Phelps, 1994a; Crooks, 2002; Karatayev et al., 2005; 2007; Sousa et al., 2009).
 
The accumulation of dead shells increase the roughness the bottom enhancing heterogeneity to soft bottoms which can provide benthos protection against erosion, by decreasing velocity flow in formed reefs of empty shells and clams (Gutiérrez et al., 2003; Sousa et al., 2009). Shell production in bivalve species play an important role in cycling CO2 and Ca (Chauvaud et al., 2003).
 
Impact on Biodiversity
 
García and Protogino (2005) show that C. fluminea is a source of food to fishes that might induce accumulation of heavy metals in higher trophic levels. The closely related species C. fluminalis can effectively bioaccumulate heavy metals such as Zn, Cu, Hg or Cd (Pourang, 1996). However a clear relationship between feeding habits and bioaccumulation of Cd, Cu and Zn it is not clearly confirmed (Villar et al., 2001).
  
The high resistance of C. fluminea to toxic substances compared to other species can enhance their probability to exclude endemic taxa in polluted disturbed ecosystems (Burress et al., 1976).
 
Empty shells, left after the animal dies, persist in the benthos providing a suitable habitat for other species especially on soft bottoms (Gutiérrez et al., 2003). The most recent studies on positive effects on ecosystems by Corbicula sp. relies on ecosystem engineer pathways; Lake Constance, Switzerland (Werner and Rothhaupt, 2007) is one example. In Lake Constance recent C. fluminea colonization enhanced the proliferation of typical hard-substrate species on a soft-benthic surface (e.g. Caenis sp. enhanced their density) (Werner and Rothhaupt, 2007).
 
In the Minho River, Portugal, C. fluminea was first registered in 1989, and nowadays dominates the benthic biomass with about 98% of total biomass in the freshwater tidal estuarine area (Sousa et al., 2008d).
 
In the Tennessee River, USA, Isom (1971) reported that the loss of native mussel (Unionidae) diversity was due to impoundment and overharvesting or by fish-host association; however, it is mentioned that a new pest (Corbicula sp.) has successfully established and is considered by many authors to be responsible for the unionid decline (Parmalee, 1945; Cummings and Mayer, 1992; Williams et al., 1993). The invasion in Europe threatens native unionid species (Reis, 2003; Geist and Kuehn, 2005).
 
Vaughn and Spooner (2006), in a scale-dependant survey, revealed that cushions of unionid mussels exclude Corbicula sp. from their patches. However, Corbicula in a prior study by Clarke (1986) is capable of competitive exclusion of Canthyria (Unionidae). Assuming the taxonomic and functional similarities, the addition of a Corbicula specimen into a mussel community might represent as much difference as an introduction of unionid species (Vaughn and Spooner, 2006).
 
Nonetheless, Corbicula sp. preferentially invades sites where native mussel communities are already in decline by anthropogenic ecosystem disturbances (Strayer, 1999) and its impact on native mussels is much weaker than that of the zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha (Strayer, 1999). Perhaps Corbicula cannot dominate indigenous bivalves in near-natural habitats (Fuller and Imlay, 1976).
 
The survival of larval stages of native mussels can be affected by larvae of Corbicula sp. through direct food competition, sediment disturbance and displacing species downstream (Strayer, 1999; Yeager et al., 2000).
 
Another situation to take into consideration involves the die-off of C. fluminea in warmer water events. Clam die-offs clearly have the potential to cause death in the juvenile stages of some species of unionid mussels. During decomposition, the ammonia concentration exceeds the acute levels of LC50(Cherry et al., 2005; Cooper et al., 2005).

 

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Acipenser brevirostrum (shortnose sturgeon)VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesConnecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; VirginiaAltered food webNational Marine Fisheries Service, 1998
Epioblasma brevidens (Cumberlandian combshell)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesKentucky; TennesseeCompetition - monopolizing resourcesButler and Biggins, 2004
Lampsilis powellii (Arkansas fatmucket)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened speciesArkansasCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2013
Pleurobema collina (James spinymussel)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesNorth Carolina; Virginia; West VirginiaCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1990
Poeciliopsis occidentalis (Gila topminnow)VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesArizona; New MexicoCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1998
Quadrula cylindrica strigillata (rough rabbitsfoot)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesTennesseeEcosystem change / habitat alterationButler and Biggins, 2004
Villosa choctawensis (Choctaw bean)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesAlabama; FloridaCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2012a
Villosa fabalis (rayed bean)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); National list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesIndiana; Michigan; New York; Ohio; Pennsylvania; VirginiaCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2012b

Social Impact

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The major concern in terms of social impact is Corbicula as a possible vector of diseases. The high abundances of Corbiculidae family and the vast and wide range of organisms that use bivalves as a final or secondary host are indeed responsible for health problems in its native range in humans and animals (Darrigran, 2002; Sousa et al., 2008b).

Echinostoma sp. is the most referenced parasite within Corbicula sp. detected for the first time by Bonne (1941) in Corbicula rivalis ‘Busch’ Philiphi, 1850. Echinostomiasis is spread over South-East Asia and the Far East (mainland China, Taiwan, India, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia) (Huffman and Fried, 1990). Corbicula is one of the hosts and some parasite forms cause severe diseases in man, and are still a public health problem in endemic areas. Pathway transmission is by eating clams raw or barely cooked (Carney et al., 1980). A case study in Lake Lindu in Sulawesi showed had a high rate of infection in some parts of the valley reaching 96% with Echinostroma lindonensis (=E. echinatum). The situation changed when Tilapia mossambicus was introduced into Lake Lindu and began feeding on the veliger stage of Corbicula clams leading this species almost to extinction. Therefore, the rates of infection decreased in Sulawesi and now echinostomiasis is reported as an historical disease (Kusharyono and Sukartinah, 1991). The prevalence of infection ranges from 44% in the Philippines to 5% in mainland China, and from 50% in northern Thailand to 9% in Korea. This also represents a social and economic problem in the affected countries, since it is prevalent in remote rural places among low-wage earners and in women of child-bearing age, and is aggrevated by social economical factors (Graczyk and Fried, 1998).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Gregarious
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Altered trophic level
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Modification of hydrology
  • Modification of natural benthic communities
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Soil accretion
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Filtration
  • Fouling
  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
  • Hybridization
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Predation
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Economic Value

In Asia, the use of Corbicula and their applications in the regional and national economy are diverse. Intensive aquaculture relies on this bivalve which has great economic importance on DianSan Lake in Shangai, China (Xu et al., 1988), and in Vietnam, where the production of Corbicula subsulcata reaches 600-1,000 t/yr (Phung, 2000). In the Pearl River, China, Corbicula sp. are used for food and the manufacture of lime from the shells (Miller and McClure, 1931). In Taiwan, it is not considered a high-value aquaculture product and it is consumed mostly as a side dish and in soups. In 1987, it had the fourth highest total shellfish market quantity, around 8000 mt produced at 3.7 mt/ha (Phelps, 1994b). Harvesting activities are reported in Luzon in Laguna Bay, Philippines, and in Sulawesi in Lake Lindu Corbicula sp. are harvested for human food (Arriola and Villaluz, 1939; Bonne and Sandground, 1939).
 
Corbicula sp. are considered a healthy food and have the highest glycogen content (50%) of any shellfish (Phelps, 1994b). They are also considered of high medicinal importance, e.g. C. leana in Japan (Ikematsu and Kammakura, 1975). The health and medicinal importance might rely on the calorific content estimated at 5.02 Kcal/g in dry weight (Sickel, 1976). They also contain appreciable amounts of vitamin B12 (Halarnkar et al., 1987). Iritani et al. (1979) showed that rats fed with C. japonica significantly reduced their high cholesterol levels, this is explained by the several sterols present in the clam, making them a hypolipidemic food item (Iritani et al., 1979).However, in Japan, water extracts from C. japonica were shown to be lethal to mice via injection. The toxicity exhibits a regional variation independent from seasonality or sexual periods. In addition, both Corbicula sandai and C. leana have the same toxin but less potent (Arita et al., 2001).
 
In Tennessee, Corbicula was produced commercially for fish bait (Williams, 1969; Sickel and Heyn, 1980); in Sacramento, California, in 1974, 553,889 lbs of bait clams (C. fluminea) were sold for US $83,689 (McAllister, 1976).
 
The aquaculture potential of C. fluminea in invaded places was analyzed by Phelps (1994b). This clam has never been marketed for food in the US, except canned or smoked, with the canned form mostly commercialized to the Oriental market. Even so, Asians were found harvesting for the Asiatic clam in the Potomac River, above Washington, DC and selling it in large quantities in New York, because they prefer to consume this item fresh (Phelps, 1994b).
 
C. fluminea has importance in polyculture; it may promote superior water quality in catfish-rearing ponds (Buttner, 1981). Corbicula is not affected by the presence of catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) and is of importance as a biofilter if water temperature does not exceed 30ºC (Buttner, 1986).
 
There are few reports of pearls in Corbicula and their commercialization. Takahashi (1986) reports pearls found in C. leana. There also exists a study by Horiguchi and Tsujii (1967) for enhancement of black pearl culture using C. sandai and C. japonica, the authors established a relationship between pearl colour and gamma ray irradiation and manganese. The potential of the freshwater clams (C. fluminea) for the artificial production of pearls, with special emphasis on techniques of pearl seed implantation was analyzed by Kropf-Gomez (1993).
 
Social Benefit
 
In Laguna de Luzon (Philippines), Corbicula sp. is gathered in huge quantities approaching a commercial scale. This item is used to feed domestic ducks (Anas platyrhynchos), and is also a food item for the habitants, especially the working classes (Villadolid and Del Rosario, 1930). These authors also suggest measurements of conservation of this economically-important species. Corbicula sp. is harvested in other places like Lake Lindu in Indonesia (Carney et al., 1980), Japan (Cahn, 1951), and in the USA in Potomac River above Washington, DC (Phelps, 1994b).
 
Asiatic clams can act as bioindicators of viruses; there has been documented absorption of 99.94% of viruses by clams (Payne, 1985). Faust et al. (2009) documented the absorption of bird flu virus from infected waters, thus potentially reducing the infectivity. Some benefits in public human health can be reported as Corbicula can be used as a functional bioindicator of Giardia and Cryptosporidium in infected waste and in irrigation waters (Graczyk et al., 1997; 2003; Miller et al., 2005).
 
Environmental Services
 
Individuals of Corbicula have been recommended for the biological assessment of water quality (Kerans and Karr, 1994; Carlisle and Clements, 1999). C. fluminea’s worldwide distribution, high abundances and spatial distribution in lotic and lenthic ecosystems in polluted and pristine environments, makes it possible to use this bivalve for worldwide comparisons (Sousa et al., 2008b,c). The combination of quite easy maintenance in laboratory conditions, possible transplanted field experiments, dissection and separation of different organs, and also its ability to bioaccumulate and bioamplify several contaminants make C. fluminea a very convenient model in ecotoxicology (Way et al., 1990; Bassack et al., 1997; Baudrimont et al., 1997a,b; Inza et al., 1997; Narbonne et al., 1999; Tran et al., 2001; Cataldo et al., 2001a,b; Achard et al., 2004; Sousa et al., 2008b).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Bait/attractant
  • Fishmeal
  • Fodder/animal feed

General

  • Pet/aquarium trade

Human food and beverage

  • Cured meat
  • Fresh meat
  • Live product for human consumption

Materials

  • Shell

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Since there are sympatric populations of C. fluminalis and C. fluminea in Europe (Swinnen et al., 1998; Csányi, 1999; Pfenninger et al., 2002; Paunovic et al., 2007; Ciutti and Cappelletti, 2009), these may have the same habitat requirements (Karatayev et al., 2007). Additionally, in recent surveys both species appear to have similar reproduction pathways (Korniushin, 2004).

The principal feature to differentiate the morphotypes are the shell characteristics. C. fluminalis has a smaller size (around 25 mm), with a triangular, rounded base form and thicker shell than C. fluminea; has concentric ridges that are thinner and less spaced, with 13-16 per cm (Zhadin, 1952; Korniushin, 2004).

As an example, in Lake Garda, Italy, the two species of Corbicula sp. were clearly distinguishable from patterns of shell sculpture, shape and colour. C. fluminalis shells show finer ridges and a violet inner surface, whereas C. fluminea has coarser ridges with a pale inner surface (Ciutti and Cappelletti, 2009).

Prevention and Control

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Prevention

The first steps towards slowing or stopping the spread of invasive species is for international cooperation in acceptance of measurements discussed and approved in IMO Conventions on hull fouling and ballast waters and the ICES Code of Practice (Karatayev et al., 2007). Corbicula sp. invades disturbed habitats more often then unmodified ones. The maintenance and restoration of natural conditions may be one of the best defences against benthos domination by exotic mussels (Stein and Imlay, 1976). Management programmes, mitigation measures and eradication efforts on invasive species do only make sense when being undertaken by all affected countries (Gollasch, 2007).

SPS measures
 
There exists a report of C. fluminea (identified as C. manilensis) being sold in open markets in Hawaii (Kailua, Oahu Island). With the potential threat of invasion, the Department of Agriculture Plant Quarantine Office has twice confiscated shipments of C. manilensis (Burch, 1978). No similar reports exist for C. fluminalis.
 
Early warning systems
 
In addition to the ALARM project a new electronic journal was created “Aquatic Invasions” as an important part of the developing European early warning systems on invasive species in Europe (Panov et al., 2009b).
 
Public awareness
 
Educating the public can help reduce the spread of an invasive species (Karatayev et al., 2007). In order to minimize human mediated transport, measures should be taken such as educating fishermen not to use Corbicula as bait outside invaded places (Aldridge and Muller, 2001). Care should be taken to not transfer sand or gravel from invaded areas (Counts, 1986) and during stocking activities (Karatayev et al., 2007).
 
Eradication
 
Elimination of an entire invasive population is rarely attempted (Simberloff, 2002); it is very expensive and may have detrimental non-target effects. However, Aldridge et al. (2006) proposed a selective process to kill invaders, focussing on zebra mussels, called biobullets. This new technique may be useful to eradicate invasive mussels as it releases fewer chemicals to the environment, reduces anthropogenic ecosystem disturbance and protects the native species from being killed (Aldridge et al., 2006).
               
Control
 
Physical/mechanical control
 
Mass mortality of C. fluminea in Lake Constance, Switzerland, during low-water events associated with low temperatures, Werner and Rothhaupt (2008) suggest that a quick water level decrease could be used to regulate invader molluscs in regulated reservoirs.
 
Movement control
 
After invasion the best control measure is to reduce spread (Aldridge and Muller, 2001). This includes the washing-down of boats and barges and cleaning of equipment like hand dredges and nets e.g. with hot water (above 50ºC) and chlorinated water (Thompson and Sparks, 1977; Aldridge and Muller, 2001).
 
Biological control
 
No species-specific techniques are available for the eradication of Corbicula sp. However, some population density controls are proposed by Covich et al. (1981) using crayfish, and by Robinson and Welborn (1988) using benthic-foraging fish that control formation of dense patches.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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In addition to the studies of Hedtke et al. (2008) it is suggested there should be a worldwide database for multiple androgenic lineages of Corbicula. Also it is recommended to create a phylogeny of Corbicula using single copy genes because of unexpected polyphyly in androgenic lineages. The rRNA genes are suggested by Hedtke et al. (2008) due to their conservative characteristics within the eukaryotes.

References

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Abdel-Azim M, Gismann A, 1956. Bilharziasis survey in south-western Asia; covering Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Yyria: 1950-51. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 14(3):403-56. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/bulletin/1956/Vol14/Vol14-No3/bulletin_1956_14(3)_403-456.pdf

Achard M, Baudrimont M, Boudou A, Bourdineaud JP, 2004. Induction of a multixenobiotic resistance protein (MXR) in the Asiatic clam Corbicula fluminea after heavy metals exposure. Aquatic Toxicology, 67(4):347-357

Aguirre W, Poss SG, 1999. Non-indigenous species in the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem: Corbicula fluminea (Muller, 1774). Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSFMC)

Ahmed MM, 1975. Systematic study on mollusca from Arabian Gulf and Shatt Al-Arab, Iraq. Basrah, Iraq: Center for Arab Gulf Studies, University of Basrah, 78 pp

Aldridge DC, Moggridge GD, Elliott P, 2006. A microencapsulated 'BioBullet' for the control of biofouling zebra mussels. Environmental Science and Technology, 40(3):975-979

Aldridge DC, Muller SJ, 2001. The Asiatic clam, Corbicula fluminea, in Britain: current status and potential impacts. Journal of Conchology, 37(2):177-183

Aldridge DC, Müller SJ, 2001. The Asiatic clam, Corbicula fluminea, in Britain: current status and potential threats. Journal of Conchology, 37(2):177-184

Alexandrov B, Boltachev A, Kharchenko T, Lyashenko A, Son M, Tsarenko P, Zhukinsky V, 2007. Trends of aquatic alien species invasions in Ukraine. Aquatic Invasions, 2(3):215-242. http://www.aquaticinvasions.net/2007/AI_2007_2_3_Alexandrov_etal.pdf

Al-Hassan LAJ, Soud KD, 1985. Phenotypes of phosphoglucose isomerase, phosphoglucose mutase and general protein in some freshwater molluscs from Basrah, Iraq. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 13(3):319-323

Aliev AD, 1960. On the molluscan fauna of lower Kura. Izvestiya Akademyii Nauk Azerbaidzhanskoi SSR, 5:115-118

Al-Safadi MM, 1990. Freshwater molluscs of Yemen Arab Republic. Hydrobiologia, 208(3):245-251

Anazauna K, 1929. First instance of Echinostoma revolutum in Kan and its infection route. Taiwan Igakknai Zasshi, 288:221-241

Annandale N, 1921. The aquatic fauna of Seistan. Records of the Indian Museum, 18(5):235-253

Annandale N, Prashad B, Kemp SW, 1919. The mollusca of the inland waters of Baluchistan and of Seistan, with a note on the liver-fluke of sheep in Seistan. Records of the Indian Museum, 18(1):17-63

Anon, 2005. Corbicula fluminea (mollusk). Global Invasive Species Database. Online at www.invasivespecies.net/database/species/ecology.asp?si=537&fr=1&sts=. Accessed 5 October 2005

Arambasic M, 1994. Composition and structure of mollusc fauna of the Yugoslav part of the Danube and saprobity estimation. In: The Danube in Yugoslavia - contamination, protection and exploitation [ed. by Jankovic, D.\Jovicic, M.]. Belgrade, Serbia: Institute for Biological Research Sini?a Stankovic, 124-130

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

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Uma Sabapathy Allen
Human Sciences, CAB International, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8DE, UK

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