Field Guide

Aquatic Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 54 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
Photograph of Ebonyshell freshwater mussel shell exterior view
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fusconaia ebena
Description
At one time the most valuable shell to the commercial button industry, the ebonyshell is now classified as endangered in Missouri and is a candidate for federal endangered status.
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
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
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
pink heelsplitter
Species Types
Scientific Name
Potamilus alatus
Description
A large dorsal wing and purple lining make identification of this widespread mussel easy.
Media
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.