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Southeastern mussels

The species profiles below are a one-stop-shop for information about the mussels the Service's Southeast region is responsible for protecting and/or recovering.

  • A mussel with fringe around its opening partially burried in the sand on the river bottom.
    Information icon Appalachian elktoe in the Little River Translyvania County NC. Photo by Gary Peeples, USFWS.

    Appalachian elktoe

    The Appalachian elktoe has a thin, kidney-shaped shell, extending to about 4 inches. Juveniles generally have a yellowish-brown periostracum (outer shell surface), while the periostracum of the adults is usually dark brown to greenish-black in color.  Visit the species profile...

  • Seven small brownish-yellow mussels held in open hands by a biologist.
    Information icon Atlantic pigtoes ready for release. Photo by USFWS.

    Atlantic pigtoe

    The Atlantic pigtoe is a small freshwater clam found in Virginia, North Carolina, and historically in South Carolina and Georgia.  Visit the species profile...

  • A dark colored mussel embedded in a stream bed, open filtering water.
    Information icon Carolina heelsplitter. Photo by USFWS.

    Carolina heelsplitter

    Taxon: Mussel Range: North Carolina, South Carolina Status: Listed as endangered on June 30, 1993 Related content Oct 28, 2019 | 2 minute read Articles Against all odds: return of the Gills Creek ecosystem Sep 28, 2018 | 2 minute read Articles Private landowners step up to save the Carolina Heelsplitter Mar 9, 2018 | 3 minute read News Fish and Wildlife Service conducts five-year status reviews of eight southeastern species Oct 13, 2017 | 2 minute read Articles Fish passage project benefits Carolina heelsplitter Jun 12, 2017 | 7 minute read Articles Musseling back from near extinction Jun 6, 2017 | 2 minute read Articles North Carolina biologist recognized for work to recover endangered species May 19, 2017 | 8 minute read News 2016 National and Regional Recovery Champions Jun 2, 2014 | 2 minute read Podcasts North Carolinas Conservation Aquaculture Center Aug 4, 2010 | 2 minute read Podcasts North Carolina‚Äôs conservation aquaculture center Wildlife Carolina heelsplitter Appearance The Carolina heelsplitter freshwater mussel was first described in 1852.  Visit the species profile...

  • A small black mussel with brownish yellow striations extends a small white appendage from its shell
    Information icon Cumberland bean juveniles reared at the Center for Mollusk Conservation in Frankfort, Kentucky. Photo by Monte McGregor, Center Mollusk Conservation, Kentucky DFWR.

    Cumberland bean

    The Cumberland bean is a small mussel found in Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. It is protected as an endangered species and can be found in river systems within the Cumberland River and Tennessee River drainages.  Visit the species profile...

  • A mussel sitting on rocky substrate with rays like growth rings on a tree and dark vertical stiping.
    Information icon Cumberland combshell. Photo by Dick Biggins, USFWS.

    Cumberland combshell

    The Cumberlandian combshell has a thick solid shell with a smooth to clothlike periostracum (thin, skin-like coating), which is yellow to tawny brown in color with narrow green broken rays.  Visit the species profile...

  • Three brownish yellow mussels the smallest of which has a small white protrusion which the mussel uses to attach to a rock.
    Information icon Photo by Monte McGregor, Center Mollusk Conservation, Kentucky DFWR.

    Fanshell

    The fanshell is a green and yellow, medium sized mussel found in various rivers in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. It is protected as an endangered species.  Visit the species profile...

  • A brownish yellow mussel shell with white abrasions
    Information icon Photo by Monte McGregor, Center Mollusk Conservation, Kentucky DFWR.

    Littlewing pearlymussel

    The littlewing pearlymussel is a very small mussel found in cool-water streams in the Tennessee and Cumberland River basins in Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. It is protected as an endangered species.  Visit the species profile...

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