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To learn more about the life cycle and reproduction of mussels, click here.
For an interactive version, click here.

View the 1997 Winged Mapleleaf Recovery Plan.

Learn about how the Winged Mapleleaf is protected by the Saline, Ouachita, Caddo Safe Harbor Agreements.

Winged Mapleleaf (Quadrula fragosa)
Status: Endangered
June 20, 1991

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

Species Facts:
The winged mapleleaf, is a medium-sized (up to four inches) freshwater mussel with a dull brown shell with two thick rows of bumps (tubercles) running from the hinge (umbo) to the edge of the shell. The maximum age of the winged mapleleaf is not known, but the oldest known individual in one population was aged at 22 years.

The reproductive cycle of the winged mapleleaf is similar to that of other native freshwater mussels. Females retain fertilized eggs in their gills until the larvae (glochidia) fully develop. The mussel glochidia are released into the water, and within a few days they must attach to the appropriate species of fish, which they parasitize for a short time while they develop into juvenile mussels. Recent studies using 28 fish species indicated that the channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) may be a suitable host species for the winged mapleleaf.

Habitat Summary:
This species was historically described as a "large stream" species found on mud and gravel. Although this species has been found in a wide variety of habitats, from impounded water to fast flowing, and from muddy to sandy to clean gravel substrates, winged mapleleaf is most abundant in shallow areas with fast current.

This species was historically reported from 34 rivers in 12 states, all from tributaries of the upper Mississippi River of from the Mississippi River mainstem. When listed, it was thought to be exterpated from it's entire historic range except for one population in the St. Croix River between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Since then, four additional populations have been found, including populations in the Saline and Ouachita Rivers in Arkansas.

Why is it Endangered?
Habitat modification including land use changes, river channel modifications, and pollution are the primary factors threatening the continued existence of the winged mapleleaf. The species was usually found in well‑preserved large to medium‑sized clear‑water streams in riffles or on gravel bars. These areas have been lost due to the development of impoundments, channelization, soil erosion, and sediment accumulation originating from land use practices.

The small size of the population makes it particularly vulnerable to single catastrophic events and genetic deterioration. These factors may affect the host fish which is necessary for the reproduction of the winged mapleleaf in addition to affecting the remaining mussel population. In addition, it is likely that many of the remaining populations are now small enough that their long-term genetic viability is in question.

Reintroduction efforts are underway in some of the populations. Divers collect gravid females and expose the larvae to host fish. They raise the larvae until they drop off as juvenile mussels and then re-release them into the wild. We tag mussels with an unique identification number to track individual survival and movement over many years.

An experimental population has also been established in the Tennessee River in Alabama.

Read more in the Winged Mapleleaf Recovery Plan (1997).

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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