Evolutionary history and diversity of unionoid mussels (Mollusca: Bivalvia) in the Japanese archipelago

Isao Sano, Takumi Saito, Jun Ichi Miyazaki, Akihisa Shirai, Takeru Uechi, Takaki Kondo, Satoshi Chiba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The evolutionary history and diversity of unionoid mussels in East Asia need to be clarified and would shed light on the formation process of the unique fauna of Japan. Unionoid mussels (Mollusca: Bivalvia) are unique models for understanding the process by which organisms have diversified before and after the formation of the Japanese ar-chipelago. Unionoid mussels have poor dispersal ability, so it is thought that they would have been strongly influenced by the archipelago’s formation. Therefore, the speciation and diversification processes of mussels before and after the archipelago’s formation were investigated by analyzing the nuclear and mitochondrial DNA of a wide range of species, particularly those inhabiting East Asia. The evolutionary history and divergence time of these mussels were examined. Unionoid mussels were found to have higher endemicity than other freshwater organisms. Although most of the endemic unionoid mussels of Japan are likely to have diverged before the formation of the Japanese archipelago, some other Japanese unionoid mussel species, including species endemic to Lake Biwa, an ancient lake in Japan, potentially diverged after the Japanese archipelago began to separate from the continent. This suggest that adaptation to the unique habitat of the ancient lake has caused diversification in the mussels endemic to it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-111
Number of pages15
JournalPlankton and Benthos Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Divergence time
  • Margaritiferidae
  • Nuclear DNA
  • Phylogeny
  • Unionidae


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