There are 65 species of freshwater mussels found in Missouri's rivers and streams. Mussels spend their entire life in the same area of a stream and populations can be hurt from changes in the stream current due to river damming or sand and gravel operations. Mussels are filter feeders who take in particulate matter from the water. Mussels are susceptible to damage from water pollution from run off of herbicides, pesticides, fertilizer, cattle and hog effluent. Good mussel populations are indicators of water quality. The native mussel species are also under attack from an introduced species the Zebra Mussel which reproduces rabidly and smothers out the native mussel species. Seldom seen living at the bottom of Missouri's rivers and streams these creature s help clean the water and provide a food source for Muskrats , River Otters and many fish. Clean healthy rivers and streams are good for mussels and humans alike.


Missouri Department of Comservation - Mollusks