Plants and Animals

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From Missouri Conservationist: May 2009

Species of Concern

Pink mucket

Common Name: Pink mucket

Scientific Name: Lampsilis abrupta

Distribution: Meramec, Big Bourbeuse, Gasconade, Black and Little Black rivers

Classification: State and federally endangered

To learn more about endangered species: see the links listed below.

Historically known from 25 rivers and their tributaries nationwide, the pink mucket mussel was down to 16 rivers by 1990. In Missouri, this species has all but disappeared from the Big, St. Francis and Little Black rivers. Populations remain in the Meramec, Gasconade, Black and Osage rivers. This species probably never was as abundant as some other mussels, but it thrived in deep areas of large rivers. The greatest threats to its survival are damming, dredging and channelization, all of which destroy or degrade its habitat. Pollution, illegal harvest and mud washing into streams also hamper the pink mucket’s survival. You can help this and other native mussel species by reporting mussel poaching and preserving healthy stream corridors and watersheds. Forest and other streamside vegetation reduces siltation, which can smother mussels under a blanket of mud. The Conservation Department has information and incentives to help private landowners maintain healthy stream corridors. For more information about stream stewardship, visit the links listed below.

Jiminy Cricket Frog

“Gik-gik-gik” calls continue into summer.

One of Missouri’s most common but least-known amphibians is the Northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans). Found throughout Missouri, these frogs sometimes are mistaken for baby toads because of their size — less than 1.5 inches — and warty skin. They are more comfortable on land than water, and they don’t climb like tree frogs. They breed from late April through mid-July, but the “gik-gik-gik” calls of males can be heard at night from late April through July.

Confirmed Sightings Still Rare

Every mountain lion report is taken seriously.

Evidence strongly indicates that any mountain lions that might show up in Missouri are most likely transients that could come from Texas, South Dakota, Wyoming or Colorado, rather than from an established, reproducing population. Of more than 1,300 sightings reported to the Mountain Lion Response Team since 1996 only 10 have yielded enough physical evidence to be verified. These included five that were photographed or videotaped, two that were killed by vehicles, one shot illegally and two confirmed by tracks, prey kills or other physical evidence. Unconfirmed reports often involve bobcats, dog tracks or livestock injuries from free-running dogs. If you see a mountain lion, call the nearest Conservation Department office immediately or e-mail Try to preserve or photograph tracks or other physical evidence. For more information about mountain lions in Missouri, explore the links listed below.

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/Editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler