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Geographic Patterns

Species richness

Within Europe, the highest species richness is found within the Mediterranean area, from the Iberian Peninsula to Greece. Areas of note with high levels of diversity include the limestone regions of the Mediterranean, the Alps and Carpathians, the ancient Balkan lakes and the rivers Danube, lower Dnieper and their tributaries.

The top five EU countries in terms of freshwater mollusc species richness (in descending order) are: France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Germany. However, Austria and Slovenia can be highlighted as holding an important number of species within a small area.

Species richness of freshwater molluscs
Species richness of freshwater molluscs
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Endemic species

The majority of the freshwater mollusc species are endemic to Europe, with the areas of high endemism reflecting the areas of high species and subspecies diversity. Similar patterns of endemism are seen for both the Gastropods and the freshwater mussels, with an increase in endemism from north to south, and high levels of endemism throughout the Mediterranean zone.

Distribution of endemic freshwater molluscs in Europe
Distribution of endemic freshwater molluscs in Europe
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Threatened species

The majority of the threatened freshwater molluscs are found within the Mediterranean zone, and the patterns follow closely the areas of endemism.

Distribution of threatened freshwater mollusc species
Distribution of threatened freshwater mollusc species
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