Information Last Reviewed Spring 2007
Corbicula fluminea is believed to have been introduced to North America in 1924. Since this introduction it has wreaked havoc on industrial intake and outtake systems across the United States.
Similar to adults
Similar to adults
Body size typically below 25 mm
Ovate in shape as young and triangular as adult
Shell with distinct concentric rings
Shell deep at hinge
Shell ranging in color from light yellow to dark brown
Inside of the shell is shiny and white or purple
The small size and presence of distinct concentric rings easily separates this species from most native mussels in North America. However, this species may be confused with members of the Sphaeriidae family (fingernail clams) and can be distinguished by the presence of serrated lateral teeth in Corbicula.
Reached at shell length > 10 mm
Some individuals spawned in spring may reproduce in fall
Variability in maximum lifespan ranges generally from 1.5 to 3 years, but has been reported to live up to 7 years
Simultaneous hermaphrodites (both sexes present in same individual) and can self-fertilize
High variability in time of spawning and number of spawns/year possibly related to environmental variables
In some riverine systems, Asian clams reproduced one time a year
Most studies report two spawning periods per year- one in the spring and one in fall
Spawning time varies throughout, but usually ranges between spring and fall
Differences in substrate, year to year variation in temperature and trophic status of habitats may affect life history characteristics
Retained in the parent through hatching
Released from the parent after 4 to 5 days
May be released in high densities daily from a single parent (320-387/day)
Unique compared to native mussels because they do not require a host and are free-swimming
Attach to substrate at 1.0-1.5 mm shell length
Variable but typically fast growth during first year with young reaching sizes between 10 and 30 mm their first year
Variation in growth rates of young may be related to temperature, low mineral content , food availability, and presence of toxic substances
Can tolerate a wide range of habitats from streams to lakes with a variety of substrates
Highest densities reached in sand substrates in rivers with low to moderate velocity
Prefers clear water with good water quality
Adults can withstand temperatures as low as 0-2 deg C
Young usually not released from adult until temperatures of 16 deg C or higher are reached
Primarily freshwater but can tolerate brackish water
Generally thought to be intolerant of low dissolved oxygen, however they have been reported in some low oxygen habitats
Resistant to desiccation and can survive periods of low water in damp sand or mud
Southeast Asia: China, Korea and southeastern Russia
North American Distribution
Since being introduced, this species has spread throughout many of the major waterways in the United States.
Established in 39 states. For a summary of locations where this species has been collected, see: http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.asp?speciesID=92
Probable Means of Introduction
First discovered in the Columbia River, Washington in the 1930’s. Introduced through a variety of methods. Initially thought to have been brought over as food for the immigrating Chinese population, it has more recently been spread through bait bucket introduction, accidental movement through aquaculture, ballast water and movement of individuals throughout systems
Asian clams can significantly alter the food chain and have been shown to disrupt ecosystem function in restoration projects
Many directly compete with native mussel populations
Young may settle in high numbers and clog industrial water systems and intake valves, causing extensive damage
Used as forage by a variety of freshwater fishes including sturgeon, redear sunfish, common carp, buffalofish, spotted sucker, spotted bullhead, channel catfish, blue catfish, and freshwater drum
Reduce transport by ballast
Increased public awareness about possible harmful effects of transporting bait from one location to another
In industrial plants a variety of methods have been used including increased temperature at outflow, screens and traps, and chemicals
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