Field Guide

Aquatic Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 23 results
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Zebra Mussel
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dreissena polymorpha
Description
Zebra mussels are named for their shells, which have alternating light and dark bands. They are a highly invasive nonnative species. Learn how to prevent their spread.
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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.
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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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maple leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quadrula quadrula
Description
The mapleleaf spawns in the summer, using catfish as a host.
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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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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.
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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.
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yellow sandshell
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lampsilis teres
Description
The uniform shell thickness and hard, white nacre made this mussel a favorite for button manufacturing, in the days before most buttons were made of plastic.
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Photo of a deer fly larva, probably in a petri dish, on a gray background.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tabanus, Chrysops, and related genera
Description
The larvae of horse and deer flies are fairly straight, segmented, wormlike maggots that are tan, whitish, or brownish. They are aquatic or live in mud, and most are predaceous.
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.