Simple guideline on photography of "big" River Mussels in Europe

It is pleasing that iNaturalists take photos of these overlooked animals in the field. Unfortunately, plenty of photos is taken with repeated errors. Therefore I would like to provide some useful information on how to take pictures correctly:

1) place the shell on a flat surface and take photos from above vertically to the shell plain; see nice examples here: www.researchgate.net/figure/The-eight-unionoid-species-of-the-North-and-Central-European-region-A-Anodonta_fig1_230574388 or here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-59867-7/figures/2

2) take close-up(s) of structures (umbonal rugae) on upper parts of the shell, which are crucial characteristics for Anodonta, Pseudanodonta, and Sinanodonta species; see figure 1 and 2 in my article here (roll down on page 4 of the PDF): https://docplayer.cz/14600192-Dolozene-vyskyty-skeble-rybnicne-anodonta-cygnea-bivalvia-unionida-z-ceske-a-polske-casti-slezska-a-ze-severni-moravy.html

3) if your find is a dead animal, open up both parts of the shell and take photo(s) of the inside, if not put it back to its environment (native "big" River Mussels are declining species in many parts of Europe)

4) post your pics on iNat and wait on ID or confirmation :-)

Posted by martinmandak martinmandak, July 01, 2018 14:15

Comments

You have just posted some pictures of big river mussels and may find my post useful for your next records of these creatures.
@pankowerin @magichuusom @thomas_eggers @tessa129 @sdmike @astrapia @tom126 @lenkabroov @ivoholy @zdenekglazer

Posted by martinmandak over 4 years ago (Flag)

Thanks Martin,
I wish I had taken better photos,I was working as a contractor on the River Meden at the time,and I felt that I should be working and not following my Hobby, I doubt if I'll get back to the site which had a really healthy population of Mussels,but I might be able to get someone to get me a specimen in the future.
Regards
Stephen

Posted by stephen54 over 4 years ago (Flag)

You are welcome, Stephen. Thanks for the info. Your find is pretty clear -- it's A. anatina without doubts.

Posted by martinmandak over 4 years ago (Flag)

Ok, I saw this post before I saw your Id,Thanks
I'm going up to the Spey valley in Scotland in Sept. I know there used to be a big population of mussels there that were taken for pearls,if there's any left I'll try and get some better photos.
Regards
Stephen

Posted by stephen54 over 4 years ago (Flag)

Thanks for the advice! Iam going to do better shots in future. ;)

Posted by cherusker over 4 years ago (Flag)

Thanks Martin! I'm sorry my pictures are not good at all - I was running out of time and was very quickly (definitely far too quickly) taking some pictures. I hope to go back one day and will try to make appropriate pictures according to your instruction.
Best, Muriel

Posted by murielbendel about 4 years ago (Flag)

No problem, Muriel. Look forward to seeing your other finds!

Posted by martinmandak about 4 years ago (Flag)

Hi Martin, thanks for these informations! My picture was taken before I knew of this great website. :)
Next time I know what to do.
Best regards, Marc

Posted by jantiff about 4 years ago (Flag)

Hi Marc, thanks for the comment.

Posted by martinmandak about 4 years ago (Flag)

Thanks for the guidelines !
In this case I couldn't reach the shell, but next time I'll take more detailed pictures if possible.

Posted by nicz about 4 years ago (Flag)

You are welcome.

Posted by martinmandak about 4 years ago (Flag)

Thanks for the explanations ! Next time, I'll take better pictures :-)

Posted by vaudoiseaux about 4 years ago (Flag)

OK. Curious what you will find next time. :-)

Posted by martinmandak about 4 years ago (Flag)

thanks for the advice!

Posted by mammal almost 4 years ago (Flag)

thanks for all these informations!

I found the empty mussel shells in a dried out pond (without water from at least August til end of the year I think). At home after searching through the web and finding that they are Anodonta I was fascinated happy and sad at the same time, learning that they need good water conditions to dwell, and are therefore endangered. Happy that they dwelled in this little, unremarkable, very likely artifical pond, sad that they made it after perhaps decades and generations of good living there not through the summer of 2018.

Would you say there is a chance that the species will be able to resettle in the pond some day?

Alas, I had taken the shells home, so I will upload photos that show hopefully more of the important details, as soon as I had good enough daylight and time.

Posted by mobbini almost 4 years ago (Flag)

You are welcome. Yes, the species can recolonize the habitat again with help of birds. Tag me once you upload more pics to your observation, please.

Posted by martinmandak almost 4 years ago (Flag)

That is good to hear, so I cross my fingers for many bird visitors to the pond.

I'll be happy to let you know when I uploaded new images.

Posted by mobbini almost 4 years ago (Flag)

Hi martinmandak,

I hopefully catched some of the needed details. There are now three observations:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20317868
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20157805
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20157759

Posted by mobbini almost 4 years ago (Flag)

Sorry for my belated response. I discovered your advice just now.

This is really helpful. Thanks a lot! : D
@martinmandak

Posted by kai_pirinha over 3 years ago (Flag)

You are welcome.

Posted by martinmandak over 3 years ago (Flag)

thanks, Martin.

Posted by domir over 3 years ago (Flag)

You are welcome.

Posted by martinmandak over 3 years ago (Flag)

Thank you for the advice @martinmandak, I'll try to update my shots :-)

Posted by shulard over 3 years ago (Flag)

My pleasure, Stéphane.

Posted by martinmandak over 3 years ago (Flag)

Thanks for the advice, next time I find one I will follow your instructions.

Posted by guido_sardella over 3 years ago (Flag)

Perfect, Guido!

Posted by martinmandak over 3 years ago (Flag)

Thanks for all these usefull informations! I will try to remember it next time when i take pictures of mussels and try to identify them myself^^

Posted by mumpitzz over 3 years ago (Flag)

My pleasure, Janka.

Posted by martinmandak over 3 years ago (Flag)

@martinmandak Many thanks for the usefull informations. Next time I will follow your instructions.

Posted by szuwarek about 3 years ago (Flag)

You are welcome, Dariusz.

Posted by martinmandak about 3 years ago (Flag)

Photographing (big river) mussels will never be withouth thinking of your advice. Thanks!

Posted by bobmeewis about 3 years ago (Flag)

You are welcome, Bob! :-)

Posted by martinmandak about 3 years ago (Flag)

Thanks for these informations!

Posted by panasenkonn almost 3 years ago (Flag)

You are welcome.

Posted by martinmandak almost 3 years ago (Flag)

Thank you very much Martin!
i will surely follow your tips next time

Posted by luc-arc almost 3 years ago (Flag)

My pleasure, Luciano.

Posted by martinmandak almost 3 years ago (Flag)

Vielen Dank !

Posted by speedy almost 3 years ago (Flag)

Thanks a lot, I wont make the same mistakes again!

Posted by reyon almost 3 years ago (Flag)

OK, you're welcome.

Posted by martinmandak almost 3 years ago (Flag)

thx

Posted by mangoblatt almost 3 years ago (Flag)

In my case, it was dead one. So I just know hot to take pictures of River Mussels. So I ´m glad you posted this text.

Posted by peternociar over 2 years ago (Flag)

Thank you! I'll follow this advice from now on. Thanks for the effort!

Posted by toemmoe over 2 years ago (Flag)

You are welcome.

Posted by martinmandak over 2 years ago (Flag)

Thanks. It's just a passing observation.

Posted by a-lapin over 2 years ago (Flag)

Thanks Martin that's helpful. I'm using the lockdown time to look at the natural history close to home and been both delighted and astonished at the wealth of life locally. I had no idea there were mussels in our loch, found this shell where the gulls hang out. It's quite small and I've no experience in identification but could post more pics of of assistance?

Kind regards, Colin

Posted by tiggerpics over 2 years ago (Flag)

Hi Colin, if you add more pictures, I may specify my ID to the species level.

Posted by martinmandak over 2 years ago (Flag)

Thanks a lot!
Best wishes,
Anna

Posted by annagazda over 2 years ago (Flag)

No problem. :-)

Posted by martinmandak over 2 years ago (Flag)

Thanks for informations, I'll try to take better photos next time

Posted by victor_85 over 2 years ago (Flag)

Thanks for the information, I will work on it in the future, but since the water was 16,5°C and I had no suite on, I can't promise anything ;)

Posted by markkir over 2 years ago (Flag)

You are welcome.

Posted by martinmandak over 2 years ago (Flag)

Thanks, Martin! Will hopefully do better next time, it was a find in my neighbourhood lake.

Posted by jensu over 2 years ago (Flag)

Hi, you're welcome. Look forward to your next finds. :-)

Posted by martinmandak over 2 years ago (Flag)

Thank you for the additional information— will be better prepared next time.

Posted by pzf over 2 years ago (Flag)

You are welcome.

Posted by martinmandak over 2 years ago (Flag)

Thank you very much! I'll do better pictures next time :)

Posted by vlasta_loya about 2 years ago (Flag)

You are welcome.

Posted by martinmandak about 2 years ago (Flag)

Thanks.

Posted by arturasvai about 2 years ago (Flag)

Дякую! Thanks!

Posted by sytnyktetiana almost 2 years ago (Flag)

You are welcome.

Posted by martinmandak almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Hi Martin, Thanks alot for the guide. I'm sorry it took me so long to notice your post, but I'll keep it in mind as I live in an area with many strems i good ecological quality.
Best regards, Peter

Posted by petereriksen almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Hi Peter, it's OK. I am waiting for your other finds! :-)

Posted by martinmandak almost 2 years ago (Flag)
Posted by gerrit_oehm almost 2 years ago (Flag)

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