Fisheries, Midwest Region
Conserving the Nature of America
Higgin's Eye Pearlymussel

The Higgins' eye pearlymussel (Lampsilis higginsi) was designated a federally endangered species in 1976. It is found in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The mussel is native to the Mississippi River in mud-gravel bottoms and swift current. The invasion of the zebra mussel, an aquatic invasive species, and degraded habitat threaten the Higgins' eye pearlymussel and other native mussel species.

The Genoa, WI, National Fish Hatchery is partnering with the La Crosse, WI, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Wisconsin DNR and Minnesota DNR to propagate the endangered Higgins' eye pearlymussel. Divers collect fertile adult females from the St. Croix River and remove the larvae or glochidia. The glochidia are allowed to attach to attach to host fish gills, which is a required part of the reproductive process for the mussels. The infected fish are released into natural mussel areas. Juvenile mussels are collected for natural areas, held in the hatchery, and later released into zebra mussel-free areas.