Common Name: Alabama Lampmussel
Scientific Name: Lampsilis virescens (Lea)
Other Names: None
Size: 2-3/4 inches
Description: Has moderately thin shell (max. length = 70 mm [2 3/4 in.]), elliptical to long ovate in outline and somewhat inflated. Anterior margin rounded and posterior margin bluntly pointed in males, slightly more inflated and rounded in females. Dorsal margin slightly rounded and ventral margin straight, but curved upward posteriorly. Posterior ridge low and rounded. Shell disk and posterior slope unsculptured. Umbos moderately full and slightly elevated above hinge line. Umbo sculpture consists of numerous delicate ridges, looped up in the middle. Periostracum greenish to yellow and typically shiny. Thin green rays may be present, especially on posterior slope. Pseudocardinal teeth compressed and elevated and lateral teeth slightly curved and delicate. Interdentum narrow and curved and umbo cavity broad and deep. Shell nacre bluish white. (Modified from Simpson 1914, Parmalee and Bogan 1998)
Distribution: Endemic to Tennessee River system and, historically, occurred from its headwaters downstream to Muscle Shoals (Ortmann 1925, Parmalee and Bogan 1998). The Alabama Lampmussel has been eliminated from over 95% of its historical range. It is now only found in a small section of the Emory River, Morgan County, TN, and in the upper reaches of the Paint Rock River system, Jackson County, AL (Ahlstedt 1995).
Habitat: Shoals in small to medium rivers (Parmalee and Bogan 1998). However, its presence at Muscle Shoals, prior to impoundment, indicates ability to exist in larger rivers under some conditions.
Life History and Ecology: Unknown, but presumably a long-term brooder like its congeners.
Basis for Status Classification: Apparently eliminated throughout its distribution, with exception of upper reaches of Paint Rock River system, where rare. Imperiled due to severely restricted distribution, rarity, and vulnerability to habitat degradation. Classified as endangered throughout its distribution (Williams et al. 1993) and in Alabama (Stansbery 1976a, Lydeard et al. 1999). Listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1976.
above from Alabama Wildlife, Volume 2 (2004), prepared by: Jeffrey T. Garner
Conservation Efforts: The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division"s Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center (AABC) is raising Alabama lampmussel to reintroduction into Elk River, Lincoln County, TN; Bear Creek, Colbert County, AL; and the lower Paint Rock River, 20 miles below the current range.
Monitoring of 2010 reintroduction efforts in the Elk River and the lower Paint Rock indicated reintroduced mussels were persisting at restoration sites.
In October 2011, biologists released over 1,039 cultured mussels (28 pounds) into Bear Creek in an attempt to reestablish the species. The mussels were 17 months old and sexually mature (video and pictures). If reintroduced animals continue to persist in lower Bear Creek and the lower Paint Rock, the AABC will augment these populations in the late-summer of 2012.