Black sandshell (Ligumia recta)

Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

Black sandshell is a spectacular mussel that is widely distributed in the medium to large rivers of the eastern U.S. and Canada.  The mantle lure is very large and active, and the marsupial gill is stark white (see below). The fish hosts include walleye and sauger.  These predators attack the lure, rupturing the marsupia that lie between the mantle flaps and releasing the glochidia.


This female was collected in the Sac River, Missouri and videotaped in an aquarium at Missouri State.  Click here for the video showing lure display (WMV 2.4 MB).  You will need a suitable player, such as Windows Media Player.


OK, this is pretty silly.  But the fact that mussels lack eyes (or even a head!) is actually a fairly serious handicap.  I mean a political handicap.  Most people don't respond emotionally to faceless animals, so it's harder for mussels to get their fair share of attention.

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