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Lampsilis siliquoidea (Barnes, 1823)
Family: Unionidae
Species account author: Lea Gelling , BC CDC.


© Ian Gardiner     (Photo ID #83999)


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Distribution of Lampsilis siliquoidea in British Columbia in British Columbia

Species Information

Clarke (1981) provides the following description for this species:


shell up to 140mm long, 70mm high, 55mm wide and up to 12mm thick near pallial line.


elliptical, expanded in females (but not in males) in the posterior part of the ventral margin, heavy, strong and inflated.


low and projecting only a little above hinge line; cavities shallow; sculpture rather coarse and consisting of numerous concentric bars with a shallow central sinuation or are centrally broken.


yellowish, greenish or brownish, shiny, and in most specimens covered by extensive, sharply defined, narrow rays.

Hinge Teeth:

well developed and fairly strong; pseudocardinal teeth medium in size, erect, serrated, compressed, directed forward, 2 in each valve; lateral teeth narrow, prominent, straight or slightly curved, 1 in the right valve and 2 in the left.


white or bluish white and iridescent posteriorly.


This species is a long-term breeder, with the gravid period extending from the first part of August to the middle of the following July. The host fish are black crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, rock bass, sauger, smallmouth bass, white bass, white crappie, yellow perch and yellow pike-perch (Clarke 1981; NatureServe 2010).


Found on all types of benthic substrates (clay, mud, sand or gravel). Often lives in river banks in water as shallow as 5-8 cm (Clarke 1981). In Montana, they prefer side-current areas, runs and pools of medium to large warm prairie rivers with pebble, gravel, sand or silt substrates (Stagliano 2010).


Global Distribution

This species occurs throughout the Mississippi River basin except for the Tennessee and Cumberland River basins. The range extends from western New York to Minnesota to Montana (Gangloff and Gustafson, 2000) and south to Arkansas and west into eastern Kansas and Nebraska (Hoke, 2005). It is found as far west as the eastern Colorado border and in Montana and is widespread throughout the interior of Canada, including the western Hudson Bay drainage (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998) (references within NatureServe 2010).
Distribution in British Columbia

The one record (2010) within B.C. is from the Petitot River in the extreme northeastern part of the province. Empty shells were found (likely washed up) on the sandy banks of an island within the river (C. Thiessen, pers.comm. 2010). Inventory is needed to confirm the presence of live mussels and to establish the range in B.C.


Conservation Concerns

L. siliquoidea is located in an area that is less subject to the threats that mussels in more southern parts of the province experience; however, oil and gas exploration that disturbs riverine habitat is likely a threat to this species.


Observations of L. siliquoidea can be reported to the B.C. Ministry of Environment, B.C. Conservation Data Centre.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeSUUnknownNot Listed

BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Species References

Clarke, A.H. 1981. The freshwater molluscs of Canada. National Museum of Natural Sciences, Ottawa. 446 pp.

NatureServe. 2010. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://www.natureserve.org/explorer. (Accessed: October 8, 2010 ).

Stagliano, D. 2010. Freshwater mussels of Montana. Montana Natural Heritage Program. Brochure. Available: http://mtnhp.org/reports/Mussel_Booklet.pdf (accessed October 8, 2010)

Thiessen, Conrad. Personal communication. Wildlife Biologist, B.C. Ministry of Environment. Environmental Stewardship Division. Fort St. John, B.C.