Nebraska Game and Parks Commission


Date of this Version



Published in The Prairie Naturalist 35(4): December 2003. Published by the Great Plains Natural Science Society


Freshwater mussels (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Unionidae) are one of Nebraska's more poorly known faunas. Studies have documented the presence of 31 species of which only 19 have been found either live or freshly dead. The remaining twelve species have only been found as weathered or subfossil shells, seven of which were considered to be extirpated including the pistolgrip (Tritogonia verrucosa). While a statewide survey never has been done there is distributional information available in several published papers and unpublished reports (Baxa 1981; Hoke 1983, 1994a, 1995, 1996, 1997; Roedel 1990; Lingle 1992; Freeman and Perkins 1992, 1997; Clausen and Havlik 1994; Peyton and Maher 1995; Perkins and Backlund 2000) on the distributions of mussels in eight of Nebraska's 13 river basins and a portion of the Missouri River. An additional publication (Hoke, 1994b) is a one page synopsis of collections in a ninth river basin. There is no published information for the Big Blue River, which is the subject of my note.