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Limnoperna fortunei (Dunker, 1857)

Diagnostic features

Limnoperna fortunei is very similar to Xenostrobus securis. Limnoperna is typically yellowish in colour (it is commonly known as the golden mussel), while Xenostrobus is typically brown to black. Also, young specimens of X. securis have zig-zag brown markings not seen in Limnoperna.  Xenostrobus securis has been referred to Limnoperna by several authors, however this relationship requires further investigation.


Limnoperna fortunei (Dunker, 1857)

Common name: The Golden Mussel

Class Bivalvia

Subclass Pteriomorphia

Order Mytilida

Superfamily Mytiloidea

Family Mytilidae

Genus Limnoperna (Type species Dreissena siamensis Morelet, 1866 = L. fortunei).

Original name: Volsella fortunei Dunker, 1857. Dunker, G. (1857). Mytilacea nova collections Cumingianae Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 24: 358-366.

Type locality: China.

Synonyms: Dreissena siamensis Morelet, 1866; Modiola lacustris Martens, 1875; Limnoperna lemeslei Rochebrune, 1882; Modiola cambodjensis Clessin, 1889; Mytilus martensi Neumayer, 1898;  Limnoperna depressa Brandt & Temcharoen, 1971;  Limnoperna supoti Brandt, 1974  (and others).

Biology and ecology

Limnoperna fortunei is a filter feeder found in brackish and fresh water. It can occur in great numbers, and populations can grow very rapidly. The preferred habitat of Limnoperna fortunei is on rocks and gravel, or any other hard surface, where it attaches to the substrate with a byssus.


Native to China, but introduced into other parts of Asia as well as South America.


Limnoperna fortunei is an invasive brackish and freshwater species. There is often an associated decline in the presence of native freshwater bivalves in areas where it has invaded.

This species has so far not been recorded in Australia, however it is considered a potential risk as it has become highly invasive elsewhere.

Further reading

Boltovskoy, D., Correa, N., Cataldo, D. & Sylvester, F. (2006). Dispersion and ecological impact of the invasive freshwater bivalve Limnoperna fortunei in the Río de la Plata watershed and beyond. Biological Invasions 8: 947-963.

Boltovskoy, D., Karatayev, A., Burlakova, L., Cataldo, D., Karatayev, V., Sylvester, F. & Marinelarena, A. (2009). Significant ecosystem-wide effects of the swiftly spreading invasive freshwater bivalve Limnoperna fortunei. Hydrobiologia 636: 271-284.

Darrigran, G. (2002). Potential impact of filter-feeding invaders on temperate inland freshwater environments. Biological Invasions 4: 145-156.

Karatayev, A. Y., Boltovskoy, D., Padilla, D. K., & Burlakova, L. E. (2007). The invasive bivalves Dreissena polymorpha and Limnoperna fortunei: parallels, contrasts, potential spread and invasion impacts. Journal of Shellfish Research 26: 205-213.

Morton, B. (1975). The colonization of Hong Kong's raw water supply system by Limnoperna fortunei (Dunker 1857) (Bivalvia: Mytilacea) from China. Malacological Review 8: 91-106.

Nakai, K. (1995). Intrusion of the freshwater mytilid mussel, Limnoperna fortunei (Dunker, 1857), into Japan. Kansai Shizenhogo Kiko 17: 45-56.

Ricciardi, A. (1998). Global range expansion of the Asian mussel Limnoperna fortunei (Mytilidae): another fouling threat to freshwater systems. Biofouling 13: 97-106.