Field Guide

Aquatic Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 48 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
butterfly
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ellipsaria lineolata
Description
The butterfly is one of the most beautiful of Missouri’s mussels.
Media
deertoe
Species Types
Scientific Name
Truncilla truncata
Description
A common mussel in some areas, deertoe have decorative green markings.
Media
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.
Media
fatmucket
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lampsilis siliquoidea
Description
The fatmucket was a favorite species harvested for the button industry in the early 1900s.
Media
fragile papershell
Species Types
Scientific Name
Leptodea fragilis
Description
A widespread mussel that relies on freshwater drum as host fish for the developing young.
Media
mucket
Species Types
Scientific Name
Actinonaias ligamentina
Description
One of the most widespread and numerous mussels in southern Missouri.
Media
pimpleback
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quadrula pustulosa
Description
While the pimpleback is usually bumpy, some individuals are perfectly smooth.
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
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.
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.