Field Guide

Aquatic Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 10 results
Media
Two pairs of Asian clam shells, still hinged together, showing exterior and interior
Species Types
Scientific Name
Corbicula fluminea
Description
The Asian clam is a nonnative, invasive species that lives in a variety of aquatic habitats. It has thick shells with distinctly ridged, concentric rings and a yellowish-brown to dark brown shell covering.
Media
pond mussel
Species Types
Scientific Name
Bivalve molluscs in order Unionoida
Description
Secretive and seldom seen, freshwater mussels are extraordinarily diverse in Missouri. We have nearly 70 species within our borders. Many are declining, and several are endangered.
Media
giant floater
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pygandon grandis
Description
When a floater dies, this large mussel with a thick shell will actually rise to the water surface and float as it decays.
Media
lilliput
Species Types
Scientific Name
Toxolasma parvus
Description
These diminutive mollusks are the smallest of Missouri’s freshwater mussels.
Media
pistolgrip
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tritogonia verrucosa
Description
Shaped like a checkered gunstock, with its unique, turned-down edge, pistolgrips are easy to identify.
Media
pond mussel
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ligumia subrostrata
Description
This widespread species is one of the few Missouri mussels successful in shallow ponds and lakes.
Media
Spectaclecase
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cumberlandia monodonta
Description
Missouri may have the largest number of spectaclecase mussels left in the world. These elongated shellfish can live for 60 years or more.
Media
spike
Species Types
Scientific Name
Elliptio dilatata
Description
Nacre color varies from purple to pink to white. In smaller rivers, the shell is much thinner.
Media
threeridge
Species Types
Scientific Name
Amblema plicata
Description
Sometimes called the blue-point, this mussel species is widely distributed in Missouri rivers and is occasionally found along reservoir margins.
Media
white heelsplitter
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lasmigona complanata
Description
The shell of this mollusk is large and impressive in overall size. Although fairly flat, it can be more than 8 inches long. A large wing on the heelsplitter can be painful if you step on it.
See Also

About Aquatic Invertebrates in Missouri

Missouri's streams, lakes, and other aquatic habitats hold thousands of kinds of invertebrates — worms, freshwater mussels, snails, crayfish, insects, and other animals without backbones. These creatures are vital links in the aquatic food chain, and their presence and numbers tell us a lot about water quality.