29 Aug 19 - Source: Myanmar Times - A team of international and local scientists have announced the discovery of previously unknown species of freshwater mussels in Myanmar.
The discovery of four new freshwater mussel species and four new subspecies was recently announced by a team from the wildlife conservation
"The mussels discovered in areas of the Ayeyarwady, Sittaung, Haungtharaw, and Dawei rivers are an indication of Myanmar's rich biodiversity in both marine and freshwater areas," said U Zaw Lunn, a member
These rivers, however, are under severe pressure, including from dam construction, water pollution, the over-exploitation of aquatic resources, and invasion of alien species. So these threats increase the chances of
Freshwater mussels are among the most threatened groups of freshwater species in the world, with 40 percent of species being near threatened, threatened or extinct, according to a press statement from FFI.
Freshwater mussels are sensitive to habitat and water
"We can refer to them as an environmental indicator because they can't survive in polluted water," said U Zaw Lunn.
"Freshwater mussels survive in a location with good water quality, and they do not move to other areas. If the water quality deteriorates due to pollution, they will lose their habitat and die, though some can cling on in rocky and watershed areas along a river.
"We can say that water quality is good where freshwater mussels can be found, and we will continuously expand the survey," U Zaw Lunn said.
He added that local communities know where mussels can be found and how they are used, so their role is crucial to identify and protect freshwater ecosystems, including these new species.
Describing the team's efforts, U Zaw Lunn said the scientists tried to follow in the footsteps of the first adventurous explorers of remote rivers in the country, but with the newest scientific methods in their hands. This allowed them to uncover the hidden diversity of freshwater mussels that had been overlooked until now.
According to the FFI report, the Ayeyarwady River is of great importance as a national freshwater
The interior river systems of the US, Central America, Yangtze Basin, India
The survey was supported by the Myanmar Department of Fisheries and local communities in the areas. The new species are described in the latest issue of Scientific Reports, a
In the future, the research teams plan to expand their studies into other Southeast Asian countries to complete a taxonomic revision of freshwater mussels for the