CORBICULIDAE (includes Geloinidae)


Orb-shell mussels

Code KP029999

Class Bivalvia: Order Eulamellibranchia.

Rounded, relatively large (over 1.2cm), strong-shelled bivalves with a preference for flowing water and sandy substrates. The family extends through tropical and subtropical Asia, Australia and Oceania. A few species have been introduced to other parts of the world.

The Australian fauna comprises three genera, with the number of species uncertain as the family is in great need of revision. Batissa and Polymesoda inhabit fresh and brackish reaches of coastal streams of northern Australia, and are closely related to south-east Asian species. The freshwater Corbicula (endemic subgenus Corbiculina ) is found throughout Australia except in southern Western Australia and Tasmania.

Corbiculids (especially C. australis ) may become pests of town water supplies and irrigation systems, where they block pipes and metering equipment. The Asiatic clam, C. fluminea , which is a serious pest of hydro installations in North America, is currently spreading through Europe but is not recorded yet from Australia.

Bivalves accumulate toxic chemicals in the tissues. Corbiculids have been used to monitor various chemical contaminants.


Smith, B.J. (1996) Identification keys to the Families and Genera of Bivalve and Gastropod Molluscs found in Australian Inland Waters . Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology Identification Guide No. 6., Albury, NSW.