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Molluscan diversity in tidal marshes along the Scheldt estuary

Author(s): Bruyndoncx L, Jordaens K, Ysebaert T, Meire P, Backeljau T


The mollusc fauna of 64 sites in 31 tidal marshes was surveyed along a salinity gradient from freshwater to marine conditions in the river Scheldt (Belgium–The Netherlands). A total of 10649 specimens involving 31 taxa were identified. Salinity turned out to be a major factor in mollusc assemblages in the Scheldt estuary, but other factors can not be excluded. In the marine part five species were common, compared to the brackish part where only Assiminea grayana was abundant. In the freshwater zone species richness was highest (24). There was a significant correlation between flooding frequency and species richness in the tidal freshwater marsh `Durmemonding'. Finally, the survey confirmed the distribution of the amphibious hygromiid snail Pseudotrichia rubiginosa, a species which in Belgium only occurs in the marshes of the tidal freshwater part of the Scheldt and its tributaries.

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