Fisheries Program
Northeast Region

James spinymussel (Pleurobema collina)

Life History

This freshwater mussel filter feeds plankton and prefers silt-free environments. Like other mussels, the females carry eggs in their gills where they are fertilized after males release sperm into the water. The larvae or glochidia are released from the gills but must attach to a fish host to survive. The glochidia drop off the fish once they have grown into juvenile mussels. Once on the bottom, they grow into adults.


Upper James and Dan River basins in WV, VA and NC

Fun Facts

  • Listed as endangered on July 22, 1988.
  • Host fish include bluehead chub, rosyside dace, mountain redbelly dace, blacknose dace, rosefin shiner, satinfin shiner, central stoneroller, and swallowtail shiner.
  • Adults are usually less than three inches long.

More Information

James Spinymussel Recovery Plan (pdf - 1.84MB)

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Last updated: December 16, 2011
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