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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the rayed bean and snuffbox mussels as endangered species.
The snuffbox is found in the St. Croix River between Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The snuffbox is a freshwater mussel that was historically widespread, occurring in 210 streams and lakes in 18 States and Ontario, Canada. This species has experienced a 62 percent rangewide decline. Most remaining populations are small and geographically isolated from one another, further increasing their risk of extinction.
The life cycle of the snuffbox, like most freshwater mussels, is unusual and complex. The male releases sperm in the water column that is then siphoned by the female to fertilize her eggs. Fertilized eggs develop into microscopic larvae, called glochidia, within special gill chambers. After brooding for up to seven months, the female expels mature glochidia, which then must attach to the gills or fins of a specific host fish species to complete development into juvenile mussels. If successfully attached to a host fish, glochidia mature within a few weeks. Juvenile mussels then drop off and continue to grow, if they fall onto appropriate substrate. Using fish as a host species allows the snuffbox to move upstream and populate habitats it could not reach otherwise.