MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Anodonta (Anodonta) cygnea (Linnaeus 1758) Swan Mussel
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Anodonta (Anodonta) cygnea
© Dr Roy Anderson
Anodonta (Anodonta) cygnea
© Dr Roy Anderson

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A very large elongate-oval shell with the upper and lower margins in mature specimens nearly parallel and the hind end drawn out and somewhat narrowed. Umbos beyond the middle, towards the front end. The periostracum is glossy and mainly brown. Found widely in stagnant muddy or silty habitats in larger water bodies.

Key characteristics

  • A very large elongate-oval, relatively thin, shell
  • The upper and lower margins in mature specimens are nearly parallel and the hind end drawn out and somewhat narrowed
  • Umbos beyond the middle, towards the front end
  • The periostracum is glossy brown, sometimes with shades of green or yellow-green
  • Shell is of a fairly even thickness throughout, as seen against a strong light

Size

100-150 mm.

World Distribution

Extends slightly farther north than A. anatina in Europe but but less far south. Distribution type: Eurosiberian Temperate (74).

Irish Distribution

Widely but thinly distributed in the lowlands.

Ecology

  • A species of stagnant muddy or silty habitats in larger water bodies
  • It may be seen protruding from the bottom in low water in the summer from fishing stands on lakeshores etc.
  • Probably much under-recorded

Red List status

  • Vulnerable (VU).

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Anodonta cygnea

 Anderson, R., (2016). Anodonta (Anodonta) cygnea (Linnaeus 1758). [In] MolluscIreland.
http://www.habitas.org.uk/molluscireland/species.asp?ID=14 Accessed on 2017-10-17.