Field Guide

Aquatic Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 40 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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elephantear mussel half-buried in a gravel substrate
Species Types
Scientific Name
Elliptio crassidens
Description
Today found only in the Meramec River, the elephantear has been classified as endangered in Missouri and is a candidate for federal endangered status.
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ellipse
Species Types
Scientific Name
Venustaconcha ellipsiformis and V. pleasii
Description
These small mussels use darters, a type of fish, as hosts for their young.
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fatmucket
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lampsilis siliquoidea
Description
The fatmucket was a favorite species harvested for the button industry in the early 1900s.
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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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pimpleback
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quadrula pustulosa
Description
While the pimpleback is usually bumpy, some individuals are perfectly smooth.
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Photograph of Purple Wartyback freshwater mussel shell exterior view
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cyclonaias tuberculata
Description
Before buttons were made of plastic, they were made of shell. Because only white buttons were in demand, the coppery-purple shell of this species made it worthless for the button industry.
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round pigtoe
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pleurobema sintoxia
Description
Round pigtoes are more rounded than Wabash pigtoes. Usually, the nacre (the shell lining) is white, but in rare individuals it is bright pink.
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wabash pigtoe
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fusconaia flava
Description
A widespread mussel that releases its larvae in tiny red packages to attract fish hosts.
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Photograph of Sheepnose freshwater mussel shell exterior view
Species Types
Scientific Name
Plethobasus cyphyus
Description
The sheepnose has been classified as endangered in Missouri and is a candidate for federal endangered status.
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.