II. HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION
The ribbed mussel can be found along the Atlantic coast from the Gulf of Maine to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico (Franz 2001). It also reported from the San Francisco Bay on the West coast where it was introduced.
Geukensia demissa occurs in the Indian River Lagoon.
III. LIFE HISTORY AND POPULATION BIOLOGY
Age, Size, Lifespan:
Adult Geukensia demissa can live for more than 15 years and grow to nearly 10 cm in length. The age of the ribbed mussel can be determined by counting the annual growth ribs on the shell (Brousseau 1982). Juvenile mussels can mature when they reach 12 mm.
Geukensia demissa can be found among intertidal oyster reef clusters
in numbers over 1,500 per m2 (Coen et al. 1999).
Unlike oysters, ribbed mussels have the ability to reattach if dislodged,
providing this species with more opportunities to respond to disturbance.
Densities of 2000 up to 10,000 per m2 have been reported for this species
in areas along the northern Atlantic coast.
Ribbed mussels have separate sexes and the sex can be determined by the
color of the mantle. Females tend to be a medium brown whereas males are a
yellowish-cream color. There is usually one annual spawn that occurs
between June and September depending upon the region (Borrero 1987).
IV. PHYSICAL TOLERANCES
The ribbed mussel is very hardy, tolerating short-term exposures to temperatures in excess of 45°C, but succumbing at temperatures above 45°C (Jost and Helmuth 2007).
Geukensia demissa exhibits high salinity tolerance living in seawater at salinities less than 6 ppt and as high as 70 ppt.
V. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY
Geukensia demissa are filter feeders that "pump" water over their
gills where particles are either retained or passed into the digestive
system. The ribbed mussel possesses large latero-frontal cirri that
facilitate the retention of particles above 4 µ with a filtration rate
measured in the laboratory to be 6.80 liters of seawater per hr (Riisgard
1988). Ribbed mussels are one of the few bivalves able to forage on
small-sized bacterioplankton (Newell and Kambeck 1995, Kreeger et al.
American Museum of Natural History, Bivalves- Research, Training, and
Electronic Dissemination of Data. Available online.
Borrero FJ. 1987. Tidal height and gametogenesis: reproductive
variation among populations of Geukensia demissa. Biological
Brousseau DJ. 1984. Age and growth rate determinations for the
atlantic ribbed mussel, Geukensia demissa Dillwyn (Bivalvia:
Mytilidae). Estuaries and Coasts 7:233-241
Coen LD, Knott DM, Wenner, Hadley NH, and AH Ringwood. 1999. Intertidal
oyster reef studies in South Carolina: design, sampling and
experimental focus for evaluating habitat value and function. Pages 131
156, In: MW Luckenbach, Mann R, and JA Wesson (eds.), Oyster Reef
Habitat Restoration: A Synopsis and Synthesis of Approaches. Virginia
Institute of Marine Science Press. Gloucester Point, Virginia.
Franz DR. 2001. Recruitment, survivorship, and age structure of a New
York ribbed mussel population (Geukensia demissa) in relation to
shore level - a nine year study. Estuaries 24:319-327.
ITIS Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Available online.
Jost J and B Helmuth. 2007. Morphological and Ecological Determinants
of Body Temperature of Geukensia demissa, the Atlantic Ribbed Mussel,
and Their Effects On Mussel Mortality. Biological Bulletin 213:141-151.
Kreeger DA, Newell RIE, and CJ Langdon. 1990. Effect of tidal exposure
on utilization of dietary lignocellulose by the ribbed mussel
Geukensia demissa (Dillwyn) (Mollusca:Bivalvia). Journal
Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 144:85-100.
Newell SY and C Krambeck. 1995. Responses of bacterioplankton to tidal
inundations of a saltmarsh in a flume and adjacent mussel enclosures.
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 190:79-95.
Riisgard HU. 1988. Efficiency of particle retention and filtration
rate in 6 species of Northeast American bivalves. Marine Ecology
Progress Series 45:217-223.
Melany P. Puglisi, Smithsonian Marine Station
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Page last updated: October 1, 2008