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Endangered Species Program
Conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems
Purple Cat's Paw Pearlymussel (Epioblasma obliquata obliquata)
The purple cat's paw pearlymussel is one of our rarest freshwater mussels and it is truly on the brink of extinction. When listed in 1990, some live adults could be found but they were too old to reproduce. We thought that the species was functionally extinct. In 1994, surveyors found a reproducing population in Killbuck Creek, Ohio.
The purple cat's paw is considered a medium-sized mussel. The males grow to about 2.75 inches in length and the females about half that size. The inside of their shells is purplish to deep purple.
Five-Year Review April 2015 (17-page PDF )
Saving America's Most Endangered Animals by Jeff St. Clair at WKSU Radio in Ohio (Sept. 9, 2013)
USFWS Reynoldsburg Ohio Field Office's Fact Sheet
Species Profile (on FWS national site)
Recovery Plan (32-page PDF; 2.4MB)
EPA (August 29, 2007) Status and Life History of the Three Assessed Mussels: Fat Pocketbook, Purple Cat's Paw, Northern Riffleshell (24-page PDF)
Last updated: March 12, 2018