Freshwater Molluscan Shells /
European pearly mussels

The territory of Europe is not particularly species-rich in unionaceans, with perhaps 14 species. From the family Margaritiferidae are Margaritifera margaritifera in western, central and northern Europe, and M. auricularia (= Pseudunio auricularius), which survives in Spain and France. (Margaritifera margaritifera: En; Pearl mussel: De; Flussperlmuschel: Se; Flodpärlmussla: No; Elvemuslingen. M. auricularia: Es; Almeja perlífera gigante, Perla de río, Margaritona, N iade auriculada.)

The rest are Unionids in the genera Unio, Potomida (or Psilunio), Anodonta, and Pseudanodonta. Also present are Microcondylaea (M. bonellii) in northern Italy and eastern Adriatic drainages, and the non-native Sinanodonta (or Anodonta) woodiana, from Asia, for a total of eight unionacean genera. Nine may be present, as Nagel, et al, (1998) indicates Unio tumidus is genetically distinct enough to be placed in its own separate genus.

In addition, many subspecies are recognized. For example the checklist compiled by CLECOM (Check List of European Continental Mollusca) (, includes two for Margaritifera margaritifera, three Unio pictorum, seven U. mancus, two U. tumidus, four U. crassus, four Pseudanodonta complanata, and three Potomida littoralis in the territory of France alone. Although approximately 400 synonyms for Anodonta cygnea at one time existed, only one subspecies is now recognized for both Anodonta cygnea and A. anatina in France, and two or three in Germany. *Species marked with an asterisk courtesy Karl-Otto Nagel, Slovak Republic.

Family Unionidae,
subfamily Unioninae (s.s.)

Unio tumidus Philipsson, 1788. Europe and western Asia.
De.; GroŸe Flussmuschel, Aufgeblasene Flussmuschel : Fr.; Mulette épaisse
Se; Spetsig målarmussla: Pol; skójka zaostrzonej: Ne; bolle stroommossel:
Ru; Ÿе€лови†а клиновидна (perlovitsa klinovidnaya): Pl; skójka zaostrzona

Unio tumidus, Hinge teeth.
  Unio pictorum (Linnaeus, 1758) Europe
and western Asia. The name refers to the fact
the single valves were at one time used by
artists to hold paints. (Rogers, 1936)
De; Malermuschel: Fr; Mullette des peintres:
Se; Allmän målarmussla: Pol; skójka malarzy:
Ne; schildersmossel: Ru;
об‹кновенна (perlovitsa obyknovennaya)
Unio crassus Philipson, 1878. Europe and western Asia.
De; Kleine Flussmuschel, Dicke Flussmuschel, Bachmuschel:
Se; Tjockskalig målarmussla: Pol; skójka gruboskorupowa

Unio mancus Lamarck 1819.* western Europe, affluents of the Mediteranean,
western Asia. De; Südliche Malermuschel

Subfamily Anodontinae

Anodonta cygnea (Linnaeus, 1758). Western, central and
northern Europe. En; Swan mussel: De; GroŸe Teichmuschel,
Schwanenmuschel: Fr.; Anodonte: Se; Stor dammussla:
No; svanemuslingen: Pol; szczezuja wielkiej: Ne; zwanenmossel:
Es: N iade anodonta: Ru; ‘еззƒбка €‹бŒ (bezzubka rybya).
Anodonta anatina (Linnaeus, 1758).
Distribution: Europe, Siberia, western Asia.
En; Duck mussel: De; Gewohnliche Teichmuschel, Gemeine
Teichmuschel, Entenmuschel
: Fr.; Coquillage des canards:
Se; Allmän dammussla: No; andemuslingen: Pol; szczezuja
pospolitej: Ne; vijvermossel.


Pseudanodonta complanata complanata (Rossmässler, 1835).*
European rivers. De; Flache Teichmuschel, Abgeplattete Teichmuschel, Strommuschel:
Se; dammussla: No; flat dammusling: Ne; platte zwanenmossel.

Subfamily Ambleminae

Microcondylaea bonellii (Férrusac, 1827).*
Rivers afluent to the northern and eastern Adriatic Sea.
  Vestigial hinge teeth. Largest one is gray, below
and to the left of the umbo of the lower valve.

Subfamily Psilunioninae

Potomida (=Psilunio) littoralis littoralis
(Cuvier, 1798)* Unpolluted rivers,
Western continental Europe, also, Greece, Turkey, Near and Middle East, Northern Africa.
Left valve (showing outer surface) is backlit to show rays. Es; N iade rodona septentrional


Hinge teeth, Potomida littoralis. *

Asiatic Invasive:

Anodonta (Sinanodonta) woodiana (Lea, 1831).
Species is invading worldwide with Tilapia fish culture. This specimen
came from the Dominican Republic. Right valve (on left) backlit with
incandescent light to show rays. The rays are intense blue green in color.


World Unionaceans
[Africa] [Asia] [Australia] [Europe] [South America]

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