Field Guide

Aquatic Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 60 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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deertoe
Species Types
Scientific Name
Truncilla truncata
Description
A common mussel in some areas, deertoe have decorative green markings.
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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.
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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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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.
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.