Editorial | Published:

On the Dispersal of Freshwater Bivalves

Nature volume 25, pages 529530 | Download Citation



THE wide distribution of the same species, and of closely-allied species of freshwater shells must have surprised every one who has attended to this subject. A naturalist, when he collects for the first time freshwater animals in a distant region, is astonished at their general similarity to those of his native European home, in comparison with the surrounding terrestrial animals and plants. Hence I was led to publish in NATURE (vol, xviii. p. 120) a letter to me from Mr. A. H. Gray, of Danversport, Massachusetts, in which he gives a drawing of a living shell of Unio complanatus, attached to the tip of the middle toe of a duck (Querquedula discors) shot on the wing. The toe had been pinched so hard by the shell that it was indented and abraded. If the bird had not been killed, it would have alighted on some pool, and the Unio would no doubt sooner or later have relaxed its hold and dropped off. It is not likely that such cases should often be observed, for a bird when shot would generally fall on the ground so heavily that an attached shell would be shaken off and overlooked.

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