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  • José H. Leal

Extinction is Forever!

The Arc-form Pearly Mussel, Epioblasma arcaeformis (Lea, 1831), a freshwater bivalve originally from Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee, is one of the mollusks diagnosed as extinct in the Red List prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Red List classifies animals according to their conservation status, ranging from species of “Least Concern” to “Extinct in the Wild.” In this case, extinction was caused by habitat loss due to construction of dams and human encroachment. The Red List was originally created by conservation zoologists mostly concerned with the protection of endangered mammals, birds, reptiles, and other members of the so-called “charismatic megafauna.” In recent years, reliable survey work and monitoring in conservation science enabled the inclusion of several mollusk species in the Red List, including the Scaly-foot Snail, Chrysomallon squamiferum, the first deep-sea species listed as “Endangered.” Check the species entry for the featured mussel in the Red List: Epioblasma arcaeformis (Arc-form Pearly Mussel) (iucnredlist.org). Photo credit The MUSSEL Project: MUSSELp.