Mussel mamas find charming ways to keep species alive

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Freshwater mussels require host fish to help them transit through waterways. Mussel mamas that require bass as a host, have modified shell tissue that moves in a way that mimics a minnow, which bass love. Once the bass is lured in close and takes a bite, the mussel’s marsupia, or “baby pocket,” bursts. The fish then acts just like a ride share, giving the babies now attached to its gills a ride upstream or downstream. This is important for distribution when an adult mussel may not move more than a few square feet on its own during its lifetime. USFWS photo by Brittany Barker-Jones