The salamander mussel (Simpsonaias ambigua) is a species of freshwater mussel currently found in scattered populations across 14 states from New York southwest to Arkansas. The salamander mussel is a small, thin-shelled mussel that inhabits swift-flowing rivers and streams with areas of shelter under rocks or in crevices. The mussel is found in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. The salamander mussel lives for approximately 10 years.
Similar to other freshwater mussels, the salamander mussel has a unique life cycle that relies on a host for successful reproduction, but the salamander mussel is the only freshwater mussel in North America to use a non-fish host. The mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus), the only known host for salamander mussel, is a fully aquatic salamander species that tends to be present within the same habitat preferred by the salamander mussel during the summer and fall when female mudpuppies are guarding their nests under large flat rocks. The salamander mussel’s larvae (called glochidia) develop on the gills of the mudpuppy before falling off into the stream substrate.
The salamander mussel lives for approximately 10 years.
This mussel inhabits swift-flowing rivers and streams with areas of shelter under rocks or in crevices.
A natural body of running water.
Like other freshwater mussels, the salamander mussel feeds on particles, including phytoplankton, zooplankton, rotifers, protozoans, detritus, and dissolved organic matter, in sediments or suspended in the water.
The salamander mussel is a small, thin shelled species about 2 inches long.
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