The conservation status of the world’s freshwater molluscs

Monika Böhm, Nadia I. Dewhurst-Richman, Mary Seddon, Sophie E.H. Ledger, Christian Albrecht, David Allen, Arthur E. Bogan, Jay Cordeiro, Kevin S. Cummings, Annabelle Cuttelod, Gustavo Darrigran, Will Darwall, Zoltán Fehér, Claudine Gibson, Daniel L. Graf, Frank Köhler, Manuel Lopes-Lima, Guido Pastorino, Kathryn E. Perez, Kevin SmithDirk van Damme, Maxim V. Vinarski, Ted von Proschwitz, Thomas von Rintelen, David C. Aldridge, Neelavar A. Aravind, Prem B. Budha, Cristhian Clavijo, Do Van Tu, Olivier Gargominy, Mohamed Ghamizi, Martin Haase, Craig Hilton-Taylor, Paul D. Johnson, Ümit Kebapçı, Jasna Lajtner, Charles N. Lange, Dwayne A.W. Lepitzki, Alberto Martínez-Ortí, Evelyn A. Moorkens, Eike Neubert, Caroline M. Pollock, Vincent Prié, Canella Radea, Rina Ramirez, Marian A. Ramos, Sonia B. Santos, Rajko Slapnik, Mikhail O. Son, Anna Sofie Stensgaard, Ben Collen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


With the biodiversity crisis continuing unchecked, we need to establish levels and drivers of extinction risk, and reassessments over time, to effectively allocate conservation resources and track progress towards global conservation targets. Given that threat appears particularly high in freshwaters, we assessed the extinction risk of 1428 randomly selected freshwater molluscs using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria, as part of the Sampled Red List Index project. We show that close to one-third of species in our sample are estimated to be threatened with extinction, with highest levels of threat in the Nearctic, Palearctic and Australasia and among gastropods. Threat levels were higher in lotic than lentic systems. Pollution (chemical and physical) and the modification of natural systems (e.g. through damming and water abstraction) were the most frequently reported threats to freshwater molluscs, with some regional variation. Given that we found little spatial congruence between species richness patterns of freshwater molluscs and other freshwater taxa, apart from crayfish, new additional conservation priority areas emerged from our study. We discuss the implications of our findings for freshwater mollusc conservation, the adequacy of a sampled approach and important next steps to estimate trends in freshwater mollusc extinction risk over time.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Bivalves
  • Congruence
  • Extinction risk
  • Gastropods
  • IUCN Red List
  • SRLI


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