Mantle displays of freshwater mussels elicit attacks from fish
Gravid females of some North American freshwater mussel species (Bivalvia: Unionidae) display highly modified mantle margins and other reproductive structures which mimic small fish, terrestrial insects, or aquatic macro-invertebrates. The authors report the responses of fish to these lures, based on the results of laboratory encounters between the following pairs of displaying mussels and fishes: Lampsilis cardium and Micropterus coosae; L. perovalis and M. coosae; and Villosa nebulosa and Percina nigrofasciata. In all three encounters, the lures elicited attacks from fish. (2) Encounters between Lampsilis spp. and M. coosae resulted in gill infestations of the fish by larval mussels, which are obligate parasites on fish. An encounter between V. nebulosa and P. nigrofasciata did not result in infestation. (3) The use of these lures to attract fish may greatly increase the chances of parasite/host encounters and may also reduce the chances of infestation of unsuitable hosts.