Jackson County, Arkansas
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Pesticides: Endangered Species Protection Program
Pesticide Table for the Pink Mucket | About the Pink Mucket Pearly Mussel
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Pink Mucket Pearly Mussel
Table of Pesticide Active Ingredients
Pink mucket pearly mussel [Lampsilis orbiculata]
The pink mucket pearly mussel has an elliptical shell that is 4 in. long, 2.4 in. wide, and 3 inches high. Young mussels have a yellow to brown shell that is smooth and glossy with green rays and growthmarks, while older specimens are a dull brown. This mussel is a unique long-term breeder in which male pink muckets release sperm in late summer or fall that fertilizes larvae in females which is incubated until the following spring. The pink mucket pearly mussel inhabits shallow riffles or shoals in areas of gravel, rubble, or sand substrates that have been swept free of silt by the current. (Silt clogs the siphons in which mussels use to strain water for nutrients.)
In the past, populations of this mussel were found in 25 rivers and tributaries in 11 states. Currently, the pink mucket is known in 16 rivers and tributaries from 7 states with the greatest concentrations in the Tennessee (TN, AL) and Cumberland (TN, KY) rivers, and in the Osage and Meramec rivers (MO). However, large numbers of this species have never been collected and it has always been considered rare. Smaller populations have been found in the Clinch River (TN), Green River (KY), Kwanawha River (WV), in the Big River, Black and Little Black, Gasconde rivers (MO), and in Current and Spring rivers (AR).
The pink mucket has declined in range and numbers due to dam and reservoir construction that has changed natural river flow, water temperatures, and oxygen and sediment contents. In addition, heavy loads of silt from strip mining, coal washing, dredging, and logging, along with agricultural runoffs have significantly deteriorated water quality essential for mussel reproduction and feeding.
In attempts to restore pink mucket habitat, the states of Tennessee and Alabama have designated mussel sanctuaries in parts of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers and have sucessfully reproduced populations at these locations. Recently, live specimens were discovered in the upper Ohio River where the pink mucket had not been found for 75 years. Scientists associate this to improved water quality in the area and believe that this species could be similarly reintroduced to areas in which the pink mucket has been extirpated if water quality is restored.
Matthews, J.R. (ed.), The Official World Wildlife Fund Guide to Endangered Species, Beacham Publishing Inc, Washington, DC. Vol. II, pp. 985-986.
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