Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (2): 155-165.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2019287

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Diversity assessment and protection strategies for the mollusk community in the southern Dongting Lake

Liu Zhenyuan1,3,Meng Xingliang1,Li Zhengfei1,Zhang Junqian1,Xu Jing2,Yin Senlu2,Xie Zhicai1,*()   

  1. 1 Center for Aquatic Biodiversity and Resource Conservation, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430072
    2 State Environment Protection Key Laboratory of Regional Eco-process and Function Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012
    3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2019-09-14 Accepted:2019-12-17 Online:2020-02-20 Published:2020-01-14
  • Contact: Xie Zhicai


Being the second largest freshwater lake in China, the Dongting Lake supports high biodiversity of endemic mollusks. Although surveys concerning mollusk diversity in this region are plentiful, there is no comprehensive resource for cataloging their diversity. Here, we carried out a comprehensive mollusk diversity assessment in the southern Dongting Lake and identified potential factors driving the observed community patterns, based on combined historical datasets and a five-year field survey (2013-2018). We identified a total of 87 species (Gastropoda: 41 species and Bivalvia: 46 species) belonging to 5 orders, 14 families, 33 genera. Fifty-four species (Gastropoda: 22 species and Bivalvia: 32 species) of mollusks were found, belonging to 5 orders, 12 families, 31 genera. Twenty-one species were in vulnerable condition (Gastropoda: 4 species and Bivalvia: 17 species). Dominant species were Corbicula fluminea, Parafossarulus eximius, Bellamya aeruginosa, Rivularia ovum. Distance-based redundancy analysis (dbRDA) shows that some local physical (substrate and water depth) and chemical (pH, total dissolved solid and total phosphate) factors seemed to regulate mollusk community. Additionally, human activities in the region (such as commercial sand-mining industry, dam construction and coastal land use, overfishing and illegal electric fishing) also have a profound impact on the survival of mollusk. More importantly, anthropogenic pressures have caused a dramatic decline in mollusk diversity in recent decades, possibly leading to local extinction of some previously recorded endemic species. To protect the lake’s mollusk diversity, a series of strategies and practices should be taken by local authorities and the public. These practices could include control and regulation of the illegal sand-mining industry, a ban on overfishing and illegal electric fishing, maintaining the naturally hydrology, recovery of natural riparian zones, and control the discharge of point source and non-point source pollutants. We argued that a mollusk-based reserve should be established to protect mollusk diversity and endemism of the benthos, and possibly the lake as a whole.

Key words: mollusk, southern Dongting Lake, species diversity assessment, protection strategies