The Cracking Pearly Mussel

By KC Morgan

Where is it Found?

The Cracking Pearlymussel originally thrived in the Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland river systems. However, it is now only rarely found in parts of Tennessee and Virginia. They are now only known to have limited populations in the Elk, Powell, and Clinch rivers.

Threats to the Cracking Pearlymussel

The Cracking Pearlymussel is threatened by loss of habitat, as well as alterations to its environment. The Cracking Pearlymussel requires fairly shallow water, as well as moderate current and high concentrations of fish. Damming of rivers as well as erosion slow water flow and limit environmental suitability. Pollutants can also kill the mussel and the fish necessary for them to properly breed. These factors have caused to mussel to be critically endangered.

Importance of the Cracking Pearlymussel

Ecologically, the Cracking Pearlymussel is important because they filter feed in the river systems. Filter feeding effectively cleans out river water and makes it suitable for other species to live in.

Economically, the Cracking Pearlymussel is important because it allows river ecosystems to function normally. This is beneficial because healthy ecosystems are more attractive for tourism. Additionally, clear and filtered waters are healthier for livestock to drink.

Help the Cracking Pearlymussel

The Cracking Pearlymussel is a critically endangered species. Due to its ecological and economical importance, we need to change our habits in order to insure its survival. You can help by encouraging agriculture practices that cause minimal erosion, and also oppose river damming projects that may threaten their habitat.