Three deeply divided lineages of the freshwater mussel genus Anodonta in western North America
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The surprising diversity and recent dramatic decline of freshwater mussels in North America have been well documented, although inventory efforts to date have been concentrated in the eastern United States. Unlike their eastern counterparts, western freshwater mussels have received comparatively little attention. The accurate identity of western lineages is a necessary component for future inventory, monitoring, and ecological work involving these taxa. Here we initiate a study involving the most speciose genus (Anodonta) in western North America, incorporating information about type localities and type specimen morphology and describing the discovery of three highly divergent lineages among four western Anodonta species. In a limited phylogenetic analysis, we find (1) that A. californiensis/nuttalliana and A.oregonensis/kennerlyi are distinct, highly divergent clades, and (2) that A. beringiana is more closely allied with A. woodiana, an Asian species, than either of the other two western North American clades. We were largely unable to resolve the placement of these three clades with respect to other anodontines, and suggest the need for a broader phylogenetic framework. We recommend, however, that the existence of these three deeply divergent groups be considered in the development of regional monitoring, conservation and research plans despite the taxonomic uncertainty.