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Range decline and conservation status of Westralunio carteri Iredale, 1934 (Bivalvia:Hyriidae) from south-western Australia

Klunzinger, M.W., Beatty, S.J.ORCID: 0000-0003-2620-2826, Morgan, D.L., Pinder, A.M. and Lymbery, A.J.ORCID: 0000-0002-0542-3446 (2015) Range decline and conservation status of Westralunio carteri Iredale, 1934 (Bivalvia:Hyriidae) from south-western Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology, 63 (2). pp. 127-135.

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Westralunio carteri is the only species of freshwater mussel found in south-western Australia and, owing to a lack of comprehensive information on its ecology, its conservation status has been speculative. To more accurately predict the true conservation status of this species, the historical and contemporary distributional records were modelled with environmental data that identified salinity, perenniality and total nitrogen as variables responsible for limiting the species' current extent of occurrence, inferring threatening processes. The species was found to have undergone a 49% reduction in extent of occurrence in less than three generations, due primarily to secondary salinisation. Current distribution is bounded by Gingin Brook in the north to the Kent, Goodga and Waychinicup Rivers in the South, within 50-100km of coastal south-western Australia. Field observations indicated that W. carteri was almost never found at sites where mean salinity was >1.6gL-1. This was corroborated by laboratory tolerance trials that showed that W. carteri has an acute salinity tolerance (LD50) of 1.6-3.0gL-1. Application of IUCN Red List criteria indicates that W. carteri qualifies for listing as vulnerable. Conservation management measures should focus on maintaining existing populations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Freshwater Fish Group & Fish Health Unit
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © CSIRO 2015
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