Field Guide

Aquatic Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 29 results
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deertoe
Species Types
Scientific Name
Truncilla truncata
Description
A common mussel in some areas, deertoe have decorative green markings.
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fragile papershell
Species Types
Scientific Name
Leptodea fragilis
Description
A widespread mussel that relies on freshwater drum as host fish for the developing young.
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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.
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lilliput
Species Types
Scientific Name
Toxolasma parvus
Description
These diminutive mollusks are the smallest of Missouri’s freshwater mussels.
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maple leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quadrula quadrula
Description
The mapleleaf spawns in the summer, using catfish as a host.
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mucket
Species Types
Scientific Name
Actinonaias ligamentina
Description
One of the most widespread and numerous mussels in southern Missouri.
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paper pondshell
Species Types
Scientific Name
Utterbackia imbecillis
Description
Unlike most other freshwater mussels, this species is hermaphrodic: An individual mussel can be both male and female.
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pimpleback
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quadrula pustulosa
Description
While the pimpleback is usually bumpy, some individuals are perfectly smooth.
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pink heelsplitter
Species Types
Scientific Name
Potamilus alatus
Description
A large dorsal wing and purple lining make identification of this widespread mussel easy.
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pink papershell
Species Types
Scientific Name
Potamilus ohiensis
Description
This species enjoys the same geographic distribution in our state as the pink heelsplitter, and it generally resembles that species, too. But as the name suggests, the pink papershell usually has a thinner shell and is smaller. Also, it prefers rather shallow water with a good current.
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.