Chinese Pond Mussel, Sinanodonta woodiana

The Chinese Pond Mussel (Sinanodonta woodiana), known also as the Eastern Asiatic Freshwater Clam or the Swan-mussel, is a species of freshwater mussel, an aquatic bivalve mollusk belonging to the family Uniondale, the river mussels.

The shell is brown or blackish, occasionally with a greenish hue, the color varying but normally more intensively colored at the periphery. The shape is elliptical to almost spherical, with the lower margin strongly convex.

It is native to Eastern Asia but can be found anywhere from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Slovakia, and the Ukraine. It can also be found in some Indonesian islands in addition to America in places such as Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

The life cycle of this species includes a parasitic larval stage which lives for a short period of time attached to freshwater fish species. The attached glochidia attain nourishment from their host, but the relationship is more phoretic than nutritive.

S. woodiana is established worldwide in spite of having an obligatory parasitic stage which must encyst on host fish. The species is a broad host generalist, which can finish its development on all fish species tested, both native and co invasive.

Image Caption: Chinese Pond Mussel, Sinanodonta woodiana. Credit: Hirase/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)