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Eastern floater (Pyganodon cataracta)

Eastern floaterPhotograph courtesy of E. Nedeau

NH Conservation Status: Not listed

 

NH State Rank Status: Apparently secure (global – secure)

 

Distribution: Found in the coastal, Connecticut, Merrimack, and Androscoggin River watersheds. See which watersheds and/or waterbodies PDF Document the species has been documented.

 

Description: A medium sized to large, elongate mussel growing up to 7 inches! Shell color is usually greenish-yellow or brownish. The inner shell (nacre) is silvery-white or metallic-bluish. Shell is very thin and fragile!

 

Commonly Confused Species: Alewife floater, creeper

 

Habitat: Small rivers and streams as well as ponds and lakes, and some wetlands. Usually not in fast moving currents. Prefers sandy, muddy, or silt substrates.

 

Life History: Uses a wide variety of fish species as host fish, which may include yellow perch, bluegill, and the white sucker.

 

Conservation Threats: Species is relatively tolerant of eutrophic conditions but may suffer some mortality when oxygen is reduced substantially.

 

Eastern floater

Lake and wetland drawdowns can negatively affect local mussel populations. In this photo, a beaver dam was breached leaving a large number of eastern floaters stranded on shore. Photo by M. Marchand.