Lampsilis virescens - (I. Lea, 1858)
Alabama Lampmussel
Other English Common Names: Alabama Lamp Naiad, Alabama Lamp Pearlymussel
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Lampsilis virescens (I. Lea, 1858) (TSN 80008)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.117491
Element Code: IMBIV21260
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Mollusks - Freshwater Mussels
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mollusca Bivalvia Unionoida Unionidae Lampsilis
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Turgeon, D.D., J.F. Quinn, Jr., A.E. Bogan, E.V. Coan, F.G. Hochberg, W.G. Lyons, P.M. Mikkelsen, R.J. Neves, C.F.E. Roper, G. Rosenberg, B. Roth, A. Scheltema, F.G. Thompson, M. Vecchione, and J.D. Williams. 1998. Common and scientific names of aquatic invertebrates from the United States and Canada: Mollusks. 2nd Edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 26, Bethesda, Maryland: 526 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B98TUR01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Lampsilis virescens
Taxonomic Comments: Lampsilis virescens is a member of the Lampsilis radiata complex, but within that complex receives full specific recognition (Stansbery, 1983). It is included in the American Fisheries Society checklist (Turgeon et al, 1998).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 29Apr2009
Global Status Last Changed: 05Sep1997
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This is a declining regional endemic. It is extirpated from nearly all of its historic range. Only a handfull of live individuals have been seen in recent years and only in the extreme upper reaches of one river. Long-term viability at the few remaining sites is questionable as future and ongoing declines are predicted despite conservation efforts.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (05Sep1997)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (S1), Tennessee (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE, XN: Listed endangered, nonessential experimental population (14Jun1976)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast
IUCN Red List Category: CR - Critically endangered
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix I
American Fisheries Society Status: Endangered (01Jan1993)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: <100 square km (less than about 40 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: This is a Cumberlandian species restricted to the Tennessee River drainage of northern Alabama and Tennessee. Historically, it was found in the Emory River, Roane and Morgan Counties, and Coal Creek, a tributary of the Clinch River, Anderson County, all in Tennessee. It occurred in Alabama in the Paint Rock River, Jackson County; Bear Creek and Little Bear Creek, Franklin County; and Spring Creek, Lauderdale County (Bogan and Parmalee, 1983; Parmalee and Bogan, 1998; USFWS, 1985). Stansbery (1976) also lists it as occurring in Crow Creek, Jackson County, Alabama. It is believed to be extirpated from the state of Tennessee. It is now found only in the Paint Rock River in Alabama (Bogan and Parmalee, 1983). Recent surveys have found shells in the mainstem of the Paint Rock River and three major tributaries: Larkin Fork, Estill Fork, and Hurricane Creek, all in Jackson County, Alabama (McGregor and Shelton, 1995; Shelton, 1997; Doug Shelton, pers. obs. 1996).

Area of Occupancy: 3-500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is found only in the mainstem of the Paint Rock River and its three major tributaries: Hurricane Creek, Estill Fork, and Larkin Fork (USFWS, 1985). The most extensive survey of the Paint Rock River drainage in history failed to find the species alive (Doug Shelton, pers. obs. 1996). Recently, live individuals have been found but without any regularity. In 1998, two individual males were found in Estill Fork (Ahlstedt, 1996); in 2003, one female was found in Estill Fork; and in 2004, two gravid females and one male were found in the upper reach of the Paint Rock River at the headwaters on the Tennessee/Alabama border (Jim Godwin, Alabama NHP, pers. com., June 2004; Mirarchi et al., 2004; Williams et al., 2008).

Population Size: 50 - 1000 individuals
Population Size Comments: It has only been seen alive a few times in recent years. The most extensive survey of the Paint Rock River drainage in history failed to find the species alive (Doug Shelton, pers. obs. 1996). It was found alive in the Estill Fork in Jackson County, Alabama near the Tennessee state line by Jeff Garner in 1995 (Jeff Garner, pers. comm. March, 1996). Recent surveys have recovered more than two dozen relic and fresh-dead shells (Doug Shelton, pers. obs. 1996). It was not collected alive in a survey of headwater streams by (McGregor and Shelton, 1995). Recently, live individuals have been found but without any regularity. In 1998, two individual males were found in Estill Fork; in 2003, one female was found in Estill Fork; and in 2004, two gravid females and one male were found in the upper reach of the Paint Rock River at the headwaters on the Tennessee/Alabama border (Jim Godwin, Alabama NHP, pers. com., June 2004).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: None (zero)

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: The federal recovery plan (USFWS, 1985) lists the following causes for decline: (1) siltation (caused by poor agricultural practices, strip mining, logging, and road construction with associated clearing of vegetation), (2) dredging and channelization (resulting in direct mortality, unstable shoreline and river substrate), (3) pollution (waste discharge, acid mine drainage, pesticides, toxic chemical spills), (4) impoundments (causing siltation, reduced flow, suboptimal habitat, smothering, altered temperature, anoxia). The species is threatened by sedimentation, runoff from pesticides used for agriculture, poor silviculture practices in the region and unrestricted cattle access (Doug Shelton, pers. obs. 1995; Godwin, 1995). At least one site on the Estill Fork is affected by four wheel recreational vehicle use in the stream. Still another site on the Estill Fork was recently impacted by unpermitted habitat alteration which resulted in the mortality of several mussel species. Dead shells of Lampsilis virescens were found crushed just below this site. It was undetermined if this unpermitted construction was the cause of their mortality. The reluctance of federal and state authorities to act in these situations may jeopardize the species at these sites (Doug Shelton, pers. obs. 1995).

Short-term Trend: Decline of >70%
Short-term Trend Comments: The rate of decline for this species is undetermined, though extensive. Its decline is well reported in literature (Stansbery, 1976; Bogan and Parmalee, 1983; Ahlstedt, 1991; Parmalee and Bogan, 1998) with future declines predicted (USFWS, 2001). Is found only in the mainstem of the Paint Rock River and its three major tributaries. The most extensive survey of the Paint Rock River drainage in history failed to find the species alive (Doug Shelton, pers. obs. 1996). Recently, live individuals have been found but without any regularity and only as single or a few individuals (in 1998, two individual males in Estill Fork, 2003 one female in Estill Fork, and in 2004 two gravid females and one male in upper reach of Paint Rock River) (Jim Godwin, Alabama NHP, pers. com., June 2004). Historical distribution once included the Emory River (Roane and Morgan Cos.), Coal Creek (Anderson Co.) in Tennessee but it is now extirpated in that state (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 70-90%
Long-term Trend Comments: Historically, it was found in the Emory River, Roane and Morgan Counties, and Coal Creek, a tributary of the Clinch River, Anderson County, all in Tennessee. It occurred in Alabama in the Paint Rock River, Jackson County; Bear Creek and Little Bear Creek, Franklin County; and Spring Creek, Lauderdale County (Bogan and Parmalee, 1983; Parmalee and Bogan, 1998; USFWS, 1985). Stansbery (1976) also lists it as occurring in Crow Creek, Jackson County, Alabama. It is believed to be extirpated from the state of Tennessee and is now found only in the Paint Rock River in Alabama (Bogan and Parmalee, 1983) and tributaries (with surveys of former sites yielding no individuals in many cases) (USFWS, 1985). It was historically in the Paint Rock (Jackson Co.) River in northern Alabama (Isom and Yokley, 1973).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Potential for reproductive success is low because of severely constricted range and because only a very few live individuals have been seen in recent years.

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.
Environmental Specificity Comments: This is a small stream flowing water species.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Further determine the extent of existing populations and assess potential reintroduction sites if culturing the species becomes a viable alternative.

Protection Needs: Most recently collected live individuals transported to Tennessee Aquarium Research Institute (Cohutta Springs, GA) for propagation.

Distribution
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Global Range: (<100 square km (less than about 40 square miles)) This is a Cumberlandian species restricted to the Tennessee River drainage of northern Alabama and Tennessee. Historically, it was found in the Emory River, Roane and Morgan Counties, and Coal Creek, a tributary of the Clinch River, Anderson County, all in Tennessee. It occurred in Alabama in the Paint Rock River, Jackson County; Bear Creek and Little Bear Creek, Franklin County; and Spring Creek, Lauderdale County (Bogan and Parmalee, 1983; Parmalee and Bogan, 1998; USFWS, 1985). Stansbery (1976) also lists it as occurring in Crow Creek, Jackson County, Alabama. It is believed to be extirpated from the state of Tennessee. It is now found only in the Paint Rock River in Alabama (Bogan and Parmalee, 1983). Recent surveys have found shells in the mainstem of the Paint Rock River and three major tributaries: Larkin Fork, Estill Fork, and Hurricane Creek, all in Jackson County, Alabama (McGregor and Shelton, 1995; Shelton, 1997; Doug Shelton, pers. obs. 1996).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, TN

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Colbert (01033)*, Franklin (01059)*, Jackson (01071), Lauderdale (01077)*
TN Anderson (47001)*, Franklin (47051), Lincoln (47103), Morgan (47129), Roane (47145)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
06 Lower Clinch (06010207)+*, Emory (06010208)+, Guntersville Lake (06030001)*, Wheeler Lake (06030002)+, Upper Elk (06030003)+, Pickwick Lake (06030005)+*, Bear (06030006)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A freshwater mussel or bivalve mollusk which attains an average adult size of 60 mm (2.4 in.) in length. The shell is subinflated with a low posterior ridge. The outer shell is smooth and shiny, greenish to straw colored, sometimes faintly rayed.
Reproduction Comments: The glochidial host is not known.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, High gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Pool, Riffle
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: This species is found in sand and gravel substrates in shoal areas of small to medium streams (Bogan and Parmalee, 1983; USFWS, 1985).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: This species was declared federally endangered in the U.S. back in 1976 and a recovery plan created (USFWS, 1985). Nonessential experimental populations have been established in the Tennessee River below Wilson Dam (USFWS, 2001).
Biological Research Needs: 1. Determine the exact location and numbers of viable populations. 2. Determine the spawning period. 3. Describe the glochidia. 4. Identify fish host. 5. Determine if the species can be cultured as an avenue of conservation.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Freshwater Mussels

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on some evidence of historical or current presence of single or multiple specimens, including live specimens or recently dead shells (i.e., soft tissue still attached and/or nacre still glossy and iridescent without signs of external weathering or staining), at a given location with potentially recurring existence. Weathered shells constitute a historic occurrence. Evidence is derived from reliable published observation or collection data; unpublished, though documented (i.e. government or agency reports, web sites, etc.) observation or collection data; or museum specimen information.
Mapping Guidance: Based on the separation distances outlined herein, for freshwater mussels in STANDING WATER (or backwater areas of flowing water such as oxbows and sloughs), all standing water bodies with either (1) greater than 2 km linear distance of unsuitable habitat between (i.e. lotic connections), or (2) more than 10 km of apparently unoccupied though suitable habitat (including lentic shoreline, linear distance across water bodies, and lentic water bodies with proper lotic connections), are considered separate element occurrences. Only the largest standing water bodies (with 20 km linear shoreline or greater) may have greater than one element occurrence within each. Multiple collection or observation locations in one lake, for example, would only constitute multiple occurrences in the largest lakes, and only then if there was some likelihood that unsurveyed areas between collections did not contain the element.

For freshwater mussels in FLOWING WATER conditions, occurrences are separated by a distance of more than 2 stream km of unsuitable habitat, or a distance of more than 10 stream km of apparently unoccupied though suitable habitat. Standing water between occurrences is considered suitable habitat when calculating separation distance for flowing water mussel species unless dispersal barriers (see Separation Barriers) are in place.

Several mussel species in North America occur in both standing and flowing water (see Specs Notes). Calculation of separation distance and determination of separation barriers for these taxa should take into account the environment in which the element was collected. Juvenile mussels do not follow this pattern and juveniles are typically missed by most standard sampling methods (Hastie and Cosgrove, 2002; Neves and Widlak, 1987), therefore juvenile movement is not considered when calculating separation distance.

Separation Barriers: Separation barriers within standing water bodies are based solely on separation distance (see Separation Distance-suitable, below). Separation barriers between standing water bodies and within flowing water systems include lack of lotic connections, natural barriers such as upland habitat, absence of appropriate species specific fish hosts, water depth greater than 10 meters (Cvancara, 1972; Moyle and Bacon, 1969) or anthropogenic barriers to water flow such as dams or other impoundments and high waterfalls.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: None
Separation Justification: Adult freshwater mussels are largely sedentary spending their entire lives very near to the place where they first successfully settled (Coker et al., 1921; Watters, 1992). Strayer (1999) demonstrated in field trials that mussels in streams occur chiefly in flow refuges, or relatively stable areas that displayed little movement of particles during flood events. Flow refuges conceivably allow relatively immobile mussels to remain in the same general location throughout their entire lives. Movement occurs with the impetus of some stimulus (nearby water disturbance, physical removal from the water such as during collection, exposure conditions during low water, seasonal temperature change or associated diurnal cycles) and during spawning. Movement is confined to either vertical movement burrowing deeper into sediments though rarely completely beneath the surface, or horizontal movement in a distinct path often away from the area of stimulus. Vertical movement is generally seasonal with rapid descent into the sediment in autumn and gradual reappearance at the surface during spring (Amyot and Downing, 1991; 1997). Horizontal movement is generally on the order of a few meters at most and is associated with day length and during times of spawning (Amyot and Downing, 1997). Such locomotion plays little, if any, part in the distribution of freshwater mussels as these limited movements are not dispersal mechanisms. Dispersal patterns are largely speculative but have been attributed to stream size and surface geology (Strayer, 1983; Strayer and Ralley, 1993; van der Schalie, 1938), utilization of flow refuges during flood stages (Strayer, 1999), and patterns of host fish distribution during spawning periods (Haag and Warren, 1998; Watters, 1992). Lee and DeAngelis (1997) modeled the dispersal of freshwater into unoccupied habitats as a traveling wave front with a velocity ranging from 0.87 to 2.47 km/year (depending on mussel life span) with increase in glochidial attachment rate to fish having no effect on wave velocity.

Nearly all mussels require a host or hosts during the parasitic larval portion of their life cycle. Hosts are usually fish, but a few exceptional species utilize amphibians as hosts (Van Snik Gray et al., 2002; Howard, 1915) or may metamorphose without a host (Allen, 1924; Barfield et al., 1998; Lefevre and Curtis, 1911; 1912). Haag and Warren (1998) found that densities of host generalist mussels (using a variety of hosts from many different families) and displaying host specialists (using a small number of hosts usually in the same family but mussel females have behavioral modifications to attract hosts to the gravid female) were independent of the densities of their hosts. Densities of non-displaying host specialist mussels (using a small number of hosts usually in the same family but without host-attracting behavior) were correlated positively with densities of their hosts. Upstream dispersal of host fish for non-displaying host specialist mussels could, theoretically, transport mussel larvae (glochidia) over long distances through unsuitable habitat, but it is unlikely that this occurs very often. D. Strayer (personal communication) suggested a distance of at least 10 km, but a greater distance between occurrences may be necessary to constitute genetic separation of populations. As such, separation distance is based on a set, though arbitrary, distance between two known points of occurrence.

Date: 18Oct2004
Author: Cordeiro, J.
Notes: Contact Jay Cordeiro (jay_cordeiro@natureserve.org) for a complete list of freshwater mussel taxa sorted by flow regime.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 29Apr2009
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cordeiro, J.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 02Feb2007
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Cordeiro, J.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Ahlstedt, S. A. 1991. Status survey for federally listed endangered freshwater mussel species in the Paint Rock River system, northeastern Alabama. Norris Tennessee Valley Authority file report submitted to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 26 pp.

  • Bogan, A.E. and P.W. Parmalee. 1983. Tennessee's rare wildlife. Vol. 2: The mollusks. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Tennessee Conservation Department: Nashville, Tennessee. 123 pp.

  • Godwin, J. C. 1995a. Survey of Non-Point Source Pollution in the Paint Rock River Watershed. Submitted to Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Department of Game & Fish, Montgomery, Alabama. Alabama Natural Heritage Program, Montgomery, Alabama. 20 pages + Appendices.

  • Howard, A.D. 1915. Some exceptional cases of breeding among the Unionidae. The Nautilus 29:4-11.

  • Isom, B. G. and P. Yokley, Jr. 1973. The mussels of the Flint and Paint Rock River Systems of the southwest slope of the Cumberland Plateau in North Alabama-1965 and 1967. The American Midland Naturalist 89(2):442-446.

  • Lefevre, G. and W.T. Curtis. 1912. Studies on the reproduction and artificial propogation of fresh-water mussels. Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries 30:102-201.

  • McGregor, S. W., and D. N. Shelton. 1995. A qualitative assessment of the unionid fauna of the headwaters of the Paint Rock and Flint Rivers of north Alabama and adjacent areas of Tennessee, 1995. Geological Survey of Alabama, Environmental Geology Division, in cooperation with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. 23 pp. + appendix.

  • Moyle, P. and J. Bacon. 1969. Distribution and abundance of molluscs in a fresh water environment. Journal of the Minnesota Academy of Science 35(2/3):82-85.

  • Shelton, D. N. 1997. The Paint Rock River Initiative. Pages 68-71 in K. S. Cummings, A. C. Buchanan, C. A. Mayer, and T. J. Naimo (editors). Conservation and Management of Freshwater Mussels II: Initiatives for the Future. Proceedings of a UMRCC Symposium, 16-18 October, 1995, St. Louis, Missouri. Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee, Rock Island, Illinois.

  • Stansbery, D.H. 1976b. Naiad mollusks. Pages 42-52 in H. Boschung (ed.). Endangered and threatened plants and animals of Alabama. Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History 2:1-92.

  • Stansbery, D.H. 1983. Some sources of nomenclatorial and systematic problems in unionid mollusks. Pages 46-62 in A.C. Miller (compiler). Report of Freshwater Mollusks Workshop, 26-27 October 1982. U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station Environmental Laboratory, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

  • Strayer, D. 1983. The effects of surface geology and stream size on freshwater mussel (Bivalvia, Unionidae) distribution in southeastern Michigan, U.S.A. Freshwater Biology 13:253-264.

  • Strayer, D.L. 1999a. Use of flow refuges by unionid mussels in rivers. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 18(4):468-476.

  • Strayer, D.L. and J. Ralley. 1993. Microhabitat use by an assemblage of stream-dwelling unionaceans (Bivalvia) including two rare species of Alasmidonta. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 12(3):247-258.

  • Turgeon, D.D., J.F. Quinn, Jr., A.E. Bogan, E.V. Coan, F.G. Hochberg, W.G. Lyons, P.M. Mikkelsen, R.J. Neves, C.F.E. Roper, G. Rosenberg, B. Roth, A. Scheltema, F.G. Thompson, M. Vecchione, and J.D. Williams. 1998. Common and scientific names of aquatic invertebrates from the United States and Canada: Mollusks. 2nd Edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 26, Bethesda, Maryland: 526 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) 1985c. A recovery plan for the Alabama lamp pearly mussel: Lampsilis virescens (Lea, 1858). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia. 41 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2001. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; establishment of nonessential experimental population status for 16 freshwater mussels and 1 freshwater snail (Anthony's Riversnail) in the free-flowing reach of the Tennessee River below the Wilson Dam, Colbert and Lauderdale Counties, Alabama. Federal Register, 66(115): 32250-32264.

  • Van der Schalie, H. 1938a. The naiad fauna of the Huron River in southeastern Michigan. Miscellaneous Publication of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 40:7-78.

  • Watters, G.T. 1992a. Unionids, fishes, and the species-area curve. Journal of Biogeography 19:481-490.

  • Williams, J. D., A. E. Bogan, and J. T Garner. 2008. Freshwater mussels of Alabama & the Mobile Basin in Georgia, Mississippi, & Tennessee. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 908 pages.

  • Williams, J.D., M.L. Warren, Jr., K.S. Cummings, J.L. Harris, and R.J. Neves. 1993b. Conservation status of freshwater mussels of the United States and Canada. Fisheries 18(9): 6-22.

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • Ahlstedt, S.A. 1995-1996. Status survey for federally listed endangered freshwater mussel species in the Paint Rock River system, northeastern Alabama, U.S.A. Walkerana 8(19):63-80.

  • Biological Resources Division, USGS. 1997. Database of museum records of aquatic species. Compiled by J. Williams (USGS-BRD, Gainesville, FL).

  • Mirarchi, R.E., J.T. Garner, M.F. Mettee, and P.E. O'Neil. 2004b. Alabama wildlife. Volume 2. Imperiled aquatic mollusks and fishes. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. xii + 255 pp.

  • Parmalee, P.W. and A.E. Bogan. 1998. The Freshwater Mussels of Tennessee. University of Tennessee Press: Knoxville, Tennessee. 328 pp.

  • Williams, J.D., A.E. Bogan, and J.T. Garner. 2008. Freshwater Mussels of Alabama & the Mobile Basin in Georgia, Mississippi & Tennessee. University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 908 pp.

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