The northern riffleshell (Epioblasma torulosa rangiana) is a critically endangered unionoid species in need of conservation throughout its range. It is the only unionoid to be federally protected in both Canada and the U.S. We use sequences from two mtDNA genes and 15 microsatellite loci to assess genetic variation among 86 individuals from the four populations in the three remaining drainages in which E. t. rangiana is known to be reproducing. All of these populations are in formerly glaciated landscapes that emerged <10 kya. The mtDNA sequence data do not indicate significant geographic structure among the populations. However, allelic data from the microsatellite loci reveal highly significant population structuring. Individuals of E. t. rangiana can be assigned to their own river of origin with 98.8% accuracy. Significant isolation-by-distance occurs. This analysis will be useful to conservation managers in documenting the genetic structure, patterns of isolation, and genetic variability within and among populations of E. t. rangiana.
- Freshwater mussels
- Population structure