Endangered Species
Midwest Region



Map of the eight states in the Midwest Region: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you


Endangered Species Program

Conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems


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Scaleshell (Leptodea leptodon)

Status:  Endangered, listed October 9, 2001 Adobe PDF Icon

Species Profile


The scaleshell is a relatively small freshwater mussel that historically occurred across most of the eastern United States. During the last 60 years this mussel became increasingly rare within a reduced range. Of the 55 historical populations, 14 remain scattered within the Mississippi River basin in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.


Scaleshell live in medium-sized and large rivers with stable channels and good water quality. They bury themselves in sand and gravel on the bottom with only the edge of their partially-opened shells exposed. As river currents flow over them, they siphon particles out of the water for food such as plant debris, plankton, and other microorganisms. The roles of scaleshell in river ecosystems are as food for wildlife like muskrats, otters, and raccoons and as filters which improve water quality.



Hope on the Horizon for the Endangered Scaleshell Mussel (2012)


Scaleshell Mussel 5-Year Review Adobe PDF Icon: 19-page PDF; 920KB (March 2011)


Final Recovery Plan - February 2010

Scaleshell Mussel Final Recovery Plan

News Release (April 7, 2010): Recovery Plan Outlines Steps to Help Rare Mussel


Natural History, Ecology, and Regulatory Information

Fact Sheet

Status Assessment Summary

Status Assessment Adobe PDF Icon

Freshwater Mussel Home


Last updated: February 11, 2019