“Although they have long served as an important food source for a wide variety of animals (including people), freshwater mussels are highly sensitive to poor water quality and large-scale changes in the flows of rivers. As we have altered and polluted rivers, freshwater mussels, which live by filtering tiny bits of food out of water, have been hard hit.
Besides depriving other animals of a high-quality food source, the loss of freshwater mussels has further harmed water quality because the animals filter out pollutants over time.
The snuffbox (Epioblasma triquetra) is a medium-sized, yellow mussel with triangular-shaped females and oval-shaped males. It tends to live in small to medium-sized creeks with a swift current, although it is also found in Lake Erie and in some larger rivers.
The snuffbox was formerly common in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. But it has declined by more than 60 percent in recent years and has disappeared entirely from four states. Conservation advocates have sought endangered species protection for the species since at least 1991.”
Read more: National Geographic