is one of the most commercially important freshwater pearl mussels in China, but there is limited data on its genetic diversity and population structure. In the present study, 119 individuals from four major geographical populations were investigated using 15 microsatellite loci identified via cross-species amplification. A total of 114 alleles were detected, with an average of 7.6 alleles per locus (range: 2 to 21). Among the four stocks, those from Hung-tse Lake and Poyang Lake had the lowest (0.412) and highest (0.455) observed heterozygosity respectively. The polymorphism information content (PIC
) ranged from 0.374 to 0.927 (mean: 0.907). AMOVA showed that 12.56% and 44.68% genetic variances were among populations and within individuals, respectively. Pairwise Fst
ranged from 0.073 to 0.146, indicating medium genetic differentiation among the populations. In aggregate, our results suggest that inbreeding is a crucial factor accounting for deviations from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium at 12 loci. Moreover, the genetic distance among four stocks ranged from 0.192 to 0.890. Poyang Lake and Hung-tse Lake were clustered together, joined with Dongting Lake and Anqing Lake. Given that specimens from Hung-tse Lake showed the highest average allele richness, expected heterozygosity and PIC
, this location may be the source of the highest quality germplasm resources and the stock from this area may be the best for future breeding efforts.