Get access

Testing congruency of geographic and genetic population structure for a freshwater mussel (Bivalvia: Unionoida) and its host fish



    Corresponding author
    1. Central Michigan University, Biology Department, Brooks Hall 156, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

    1. Aquatic Biodiversity and Conservation Unit, Ontario Ministry Of Natural Resources, Trent University, 2140 East Bank Drive, Peterborough, ON K9J 7B8, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author



The macrogeographic dispersal of unionoid mussels is largely dependent on movement by their host fish. The snuffbox mussel Epioblasma triquetra (Unionoida) and other congeners use a novel trapping behaviour to parasitize potential host fish with their larvae (glochidia). Common logperch (Percina caprodes) trapped by E. triquetra survive the trapping behaviour, whereas other darter species (Etheostoma and Percina) do not, thus, making the P. caprodesE. triquetra relationship a good candidate system for a coevolutionary study. We hypothesized that the geographic genetic structure of E. triquetra should closely match that of its host, albeit with greater interpopulation divergences as a result of its dependency on the host for dispersal. Mantel tests of parallel pairwise matrices of population divergence (Jost's D) and genetic assignment tests based on microsatellite DNA data showed that the genetic population structures of both species were broadly, but not perfectly, congruent. Therefore, it appears that P. caprodes are not solely responsible for the genetic population structure observed for snuffbox and may not necessarily be the mussel's only host across its entire range. This suggests the potential for a geographic mosaic for coevolution in unionoids and darters. The findings of the present study reinforce the need for a joint study and conservation of unionoids and host fish aiming to protect these coevolved taxa. © 2011 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2011, 102, 669–685.