Toxolasma lividus was formerly known as Carunculina glans.
The middle lobe of the mantle edge has most of a bivalve's sensory organs. Paired statocysts, which are fluid filled chambers with a solid granule or pellet (a statolity) are in the mussel's foot. The statocysts help the mussel with georeception, or orientation.
Mussels are heterothermic, and therefore are sensitive and responsive to temperature.
Unionids in general may have some form of chemical reception to recognize fish hosts. Mantle flaps in the lampsilines are modified to attract potential fish hosts. How the purple lilliput attracts its fish host is unknown.
Glochidia respond to both touch, light and some chemical cues. In general, when touched or a fluid is introduced, they will respond by clamping shut.
Communication Channels: chemical
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; vibrations ; chemical
Toxolasma lividus is endangered in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia. In Indiana it is listed as Special Concern.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
State of Michigan List: endangered
Fertilized eggs are brooded in the marsupia (water tubes) up to 11 months, where they develop into larvae, called glochidia. The glochidia are then released into the water where they must attach to the gill filaments and/or general body surface of the host fish. After attachment, epithelial tissue from the host fish grows over and encapsulates a glochidium, usually within a few hours. The glochidia then metamorphoses into a juvenile mussel within a few days or weeks. After metamorphosis, the juvenile is sloughed off as a free-living organism. Juveniles are found in the substrate where they develop into adults.
Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis
There are no significant negative impacts of mussels on humans.
Mussels are ecological indicators. Their presence in a water body usually indicates good water quality.
Fish hosts are determined by looking at both lab metamorphosis and natural infestations. Looking at both is necessary, as lab transformations from glochidia to juvenile may occur, but the mussel may not actually infect a particular species in a natural situation. Natural infestations may also be found, but glochidia will attach to almost any fish, including those that are not suitable hosts. Lab transformations involve isolating one particular fish species and introducing glochidia either into the fish tank or directly inoculating the fish gills with glochidia. Tanks are monitored and if juveniles are later found the fish species is considered a suitable host.
In lab trials, Toxolasma lividus metamorphosed on the green sunfish, Lepomis cyanellus, and the longear sunfish, L. megalotis.
Ecosystem Impact: parasite
Species Used as Host:
In general, unionids are filter feeders. The mussels use cilia to pump water into the incurrent siphon where food is caught in a mucus lining in the demibranchs. Particles are sorted by the labial palps and then directed to the mouth. Mussels have been cultured on algae, but they may also ingest bacteria, protozoans and other organic particles.
The parasitic glochidial stage absorbs blood and nutrients from hosts after attachment. Mantle cells within the glochidia feed off of the host’s tissue through phagocytocis.
Plant Foods: algae; phytoplankton
Other Foods: detritus ; microbes
Foraging Behavior: filter-feeding
Primary Diet: planktivore ; detritivore
In general, the purple lilliput is found from Michigan to Alabama, west to Missouri and Arkansas and east to Virginia. The status of this as a different species rather than a subspecies is still uncertain, so the range may actually be smaller.
Historically, this species has only been found live in a small stretch of the Clinton River in Oakland County.
Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )
In general the purple lilliput is in fast flowing small streams and medium sized rivers. Substrates where it has been observed had sand and gravel.
Habitat Regions: freshwater
Aquatic Biomes: rivers and streams
The age of mussels can be determined by looking at annual rings on the shell. However, no demographic data on this species has been recorded.
The purple lilliput is up to 2.5 cm (1 inch) long , is elongate to oblong and moderately inflated. The anterior end is rounded and the posterior end is bluntly pointed in males or truncated in females. The dorsal margin is nearly straight and the ventral margin is straight.
Umbos are broad and raised slightly above the hinge line. The beak sculpture has three or four heavy concentric bars.
The periostracum (outer shell layer) is smooth except for growth lines. Color is tan to brown, and black in older individuals.
On the inner shell, the left valve has two erect, triangular and serrated pseudocardinal teeth. The two lateral teeth are straight, elevated and striated. The right valve has one large, elongate and roughened pseudocardinal tooth. Anterior to this tooth is a smaller (lamellar) tooth. The beak cavity is shallow to moderately deep. The nacre is purple and iridescent posteriorly.
In Michigan, this species can be confused with the lilliput. The lilliput has a white nacre and is more elongate and cylindrical.
Range length: 2.5 (high) cm.
Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: sexes shaped differently
Unionids in general are preyed upon by muskrats, raccoons, minks, otters, and some birds. Juveniles are probably also fed upon by freshwater drum, sheepshead, lake sturgeon, spotted suckers, redhorses, and pumpkinseeds.
Unionid mortality and reproduction is affected by unionicolid mites and monogenic trematodes feeding on gill and mantle tissue. Parasitic chironomid larvae may destroy up to half the mussel gill.
Age to sexual maturity for this species is unknown. Unionids are gonochoristic (sexes are separate) and viviparous. The glochidia, which are the larval stage of the mussels, are released live from the female after they are fully developed.
In general, gametogenesis in unionids is initiated by increasing water temperatures. The general life cycle of a unionid, includes open fertilization. Males release sperm into the water, which is taken in by the females through their respiratory current. The eggs are internally fertilized in the suprabranchial chambers, then pass into water tubes of the gills, where they develop into glochidia.
The purple lilliput is likely a long-term brooder, spawning in the summer and retaining glochidia until the following spring.
Breeding interval: The purple lilliput breeds once in the warmer months of the year.
Breeding season: This species likely spawns in the spring and summer.
Range gestation period: 10 (high) months.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous
Females brood fertilized eggs in their marsupial pouch. The fertilized eggs develop into glochidia. There is no parental investment after the female releases the glochidia.
Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female)