, Volume 735, Issue 1, pp 95–110

Molecular phylogeny, taxonomy, and distribution of French Unio species (Bivalvia, Unionidae)


DOI: 10.1007/s10750-013-1571-0

Cite this article as:
Prié, V. & Puillandre, N. Hydrobiologia (2014) 735: 95. doi:10.1007/s10750-013-1571-0


A plethora of unionid names was established in the nineteenth century by the “Nouvelle Ecole”. Although naiad morphological plasticity is well documented, the currently recognized fauna, with 17 species and subspecies included in the French checklist for the Unio genus, is still based upon morphological characters only. Insights have been provided from molecular data elsewhere in Europe and North Africa, but the French fauna remains unstudied. We present a molecular phylogeny of the Unio genus in France based on COI, 16S and 28S genes; taking up all available data in Europe plus 273 specimens collected in all main French drainages. The results show that there are either three valid species in France, with U. pictorum and U. mancus synonymized, or five, with the subspecies U. crassus courtillieri elevated to species level. Subspecies were generally not recovered, which questions the evolutionary units tacitly implied by subspecific names. Although sampling topotypes is the most reliable way to evaluate the status of a nominal subspecies, major human-induced changes in aquatic hydrosystems challenge the method. Nevertheless, operational taxonomy has to rely on ground-truthed data and we propose to reduce the actual number of valid taxa in France to the seven observed operational taxonomic units.


Freshwater mussels Molecular systematic Species delimitation Barcoding gap Conservation genetics 

Supplementary material

10750_2013_1571_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (298 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 298 kb)
10750_2013_1571_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (356 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 356 kb)
10750_2013_1571_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (210 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 210 kb)
10750_2013_1571_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (208 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (PDF 208 kb)
10750_2013_1571_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (197 kb)
Supplementary material 5 (PDF 198 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Département Systématique et ÉvolutionUSM 603/UMR 7138 “Systématique, Adaptation, Évolution”, Équipe “Exploration de la Biodiversité”Paris Cedex 05France
  2. 2.Service Recherche et DéveloppementBiotopeMèzeFrance

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