The purpose of this study was to determine species composition and relative abundance of unionid bivalves (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Unionidae) in Presque Isle Bay, Erie, Pennsylvania 1990-1992. This information was compared with data from the only other extensive survey of unionids in the bay conducted in 1909-1911 (Ortmann 1919) to assess changes over the 80 years preceding the present study. A total of 1,540 individuals representing 18 species were collected in 1990-1992. Five relatively common species (between 7 and 42% of total individuals), six uncommon species (2 and 6%), and seven rare species (<1%) were found. The rare species were Anodontoides ferussacianus, Lasmigona costata, Ligumia recta, Ptychobranchus fasciolaris, Quadrula pustulosa pustulosa, Strophitus undaulatus, and Truncilla donaciformis. Five of the species found in Presque Isle Bay (Leptodea fragilis, Ligumia nasuta, Potamilus alatus, Quadrula quadrula, and Truncilla donaciformis) are listed as critically imperiled and one species (Truncilla truncata) as extirpated in the State of Pennsylvania by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Comparisons between unionid populations in 1909-1911 and 1990-1992 indicate few substantial changes occurred during the past 80 years. A total of 22 species were found; 21 in 1909-1911 and 18 in 1990-1992. Seventeen species were found in both studies, an additional four in 1909-1911 and one in 1990-1992. The relative abundance of 11 of the 17 species found in both studies remained stable (i.e., common or uncommon) over the past 80 years. Only four species listed as uncommon in 1909-1911 were listed as rare in 1990-1992. However, the invasion of the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) is considered a threat to the continued existence of the entire Unionidae fauna in Presque Isle Bay, a unique habitat of the Great Lakes.
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Unionid bivalves (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Unionidae) of Presque Isle Bay, Erie, Pennsylvania