North America is home to nearly 300 species of freshwater mussels. Of those 300 species 70% are either extinct, endangered, threatened, or of special concern at either the state or federal level. Louisiana is home to 66 mussel species. The Louisiana pearlshell mussel is the only species that is only found just in the state of Louisiana.
Here is the fishing lure of the endagered Winged Mapleleaf Mussel.
Metamorphosed glochidia are called transformers. Once these transformers have completed their metamorphosis they break free from the fish and settle to the bottom of the river or lake and there they begin to grow. In a few months the transformers will go from microscopic to being large enough to see.
For more information about the mussel life cycle please check out the Unio Gallery
To find a mussel biologist in your area you and check out the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society