• Effects of substrate size and cleaning regime on growth and survival of captive-bred juvenile freshwater pearl mussels, Margaritifera margaritifera (Linnaeus, 1758)

      Lavictoire, Louise; Sinclair, William; Sweeting, Roger A.; Moorkens, Evelyn; Ramsey, Andrew; University of Derby (Springer, 2015-09-04)
      The freshwater pearl mussel is critically endangered and most English populations are at risk of extinction unless conservation measures are implemented immediately. The study objectives were to test a culture system for rearing Margaritifera margaritifera in captivity, and to investigate the effects of substrate size (0.25–1 and 1–2 mm) and cleaning regime (weekly and monthly) on survival and growth. In total, 1207 and 518 juveniles were reared to 362 (12 months) and 758 days (25 months), respectively. After 362 days, survival was significantly higher in 1–2 mm substrate treatments cleaned monthly (55 ± 6 %) and lowest in 0.25–1 mm substrate cleaned weekly (14 ± 3 %). Growth was significantly higher in 1–2 mm substrates cleaned weekly (length = 1.15 ± 0.21 mm) and lowest in 0.25–1 mm substrates cleaned monthly (length = 0.83 ± 0.23 mm). Juveniles from most treatments did not display sizedependent over-winter survival, but a significant correlation was found between shell length and survival in the 0.25–1 mm weekly treatment. This low-maintenance system utilised features of previously described systems and growth and survival rates were comparable to, if not better than, other studies culturing M. margaritifera. The system could be scaled up to rear significant numbers of juveniles in captivity.