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Snuffbox (Epioblasma triquetra)
Status: Endangered
March 15, 2012

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

Species Facts:
The snuffbox is a small to medium mussel (up to 2.8 inches in length) with a triangular (females) or oblong (males) shell. The shell is yellow, green, or brown and has many green rays, blotches, or chevron-shaped lines; the shell darkens and the markings become less distinct with age.

The reproductive cycle of the spectaclecase is similar to that of other native freshwater mussels. Females retain fertilized eggs in their gills until the larvae (glochidia) fully develop. The glochidia are then released into the water, and attach to the gills of a specific species of host fish, in this case the logperch. They parasitize this fish for a short time while they develop before dropping off as juvenile mussels.

sThis species has an interesting and sometimes deadly way of luring a host fish; a fleshy lure is inside the shell, instead of external as in most mussels. When the host fish inserts its head into the shell to grab the lure, the mussel snaps shut, holding the fish in place to ensure glochidia infest it. The host fish, the logperch, is large with a reinforced snout and usually survives this treatment. Although other species are also attracted by the lure, the force of the mussel snapping shut will often crush their skulls.

Habitat Summary:
The snuffbox is found in riffles of medium and large rivers with stony or sandy bottoms and swift currents, and are usually deeply buried.

Why is it Endangered?
Threats to the snuffbox include loss and degradation of stream and river habitat due to impoundments, channelization, chemical contaminants, mining, and sedimentation. Freshwater mussels require clean water; their decline often signals a decline in the water quality of the streams and rivers they inhabit.

A recovery plan for the snuffbox has not yet been written.

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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