Arkansas Fatmucket

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Learn more about the Arkansas fatmucket in the 2013 5-Year Review.

Arkansas Fatmucket (Lampsilis powellii)
Status: Threatened
Listed: April 05, 1990

For questions regarding the Arkansas Fatmucket, please contact Chris Davidson at chris_davidson@fws.gov or 501-513-4481.

Species Information:
The Arkansas fatmucket is a medium size mussel that can reach over four inches in length. It has a smooth, shiny olive brown shell without rays. Female shells are rounded, while male shells are pointed.  It feeds by filtering food particles from the water column, including detritus, diatoms and plankton.

The Arkansas fatmucket reproductive cycle is similar to other species of freshwater mussels. The female releases tiny parasitic glochidia (larvae) that latch onto the gills of specific host fish. They then drop off as juvenille mussels. The optimal host fish for Arkansas fatmucket are smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Habitat Summary:
The Arkansas fatmucket occurs in the Ouachita, South Fork Ouachita, Saline (and its four forks; Alum, South, Middle, and North Forks), and Caddo Rivers in the Ouachita Mountain region of Arkansas. It prefers deep pools that possess sand, sand‐gravel, sand‐cobble, or sand‐rock with sufficient flow to periodically remove organic detritus, leaves, and other debris, and is often found adjacent to islands of water willow (Justicia Americana). It is not generally found in riffles nor does it occur in impoundments.

Why is it Threatened?
The Arkansas fatmucket has lost much of its habitat to impoundments, channelization, and dredging in many locations on the rivers it inhabits. Many of these rivers have also undergone increased sedimentation from farming and logging and lowered water flow from impoundments and water withdrawal. Water quality degredation by runoff from pesticides, fertilizers, mining, and other anthropogenic sources is responsible for the absence of the Arkansas fatmucket in much of its historic range.

The Arkansas fatmucket Recovery Plan was approved February 10, 1992. This recovery plan focused on protecting remaining Arkansas fatmucket habitat, researching Arkansas fatmucket life history and environmental interactions, and attempting to re-establish historic habitats. The final goal is to recover viable wild populations to a stable point.

Range in Arkansas:

Arkansas Field Office
110 S. Amity Road
Suite 300
Conway, AR 72032

501/513 4470 (v)
501/513 4480 (f)

Last Updated: December 30, 2015

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