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THE SAD STORY OF ALABAMA FRESHWATER MUSSELS.

posted Mar 30, 2012, 5:52 PM by Friends of Hurricane Creek   [ updated Jul 24, 2012, 7:34 AM ]

The orange-nacre mucket is one of many species that have disappeared from most major rivers, and only small streams
and creeks now afford suitable habitats for the creature (Hartfield and Butler 1996).  The host species for many mussels are darters.  These fish exhibit a rainbow of iridescent hues in a multitude of patterns.  Many of their names are evocative of their color or origin:  Amber (Percina antesella), Bayou (Etheostoma rubrum), Goldline (Percina aurolineata), Slackwater (Etheostoma boschungi), Watercress (Etheostoma nuchale) and Okaloosa Darters (Etheostoma okaloosae).  All the latter species are listed on the Endangered Species Act. 


        The orange-nacre mucket mussel (pictured to the right) is one of the mussels unfortunate enough to be a resident of Tuscaloosa County. Sadly, life for our mussels is not ameliorated by national football victories. This year, the federal government added another Alabama freshwater mussel to the endangered species list. Since mussels play such an important role in filtering water and keeping stream systems habitable for other forms of life, Friends of Hurricane Creek who have personal knowledge about local mussels are encouraged to share their knowledge with the community. Please contact us and let us know- we'd love to have some speakers on the topic. 
        Also, to keep the field for action broad, anyone with a guitar or mouth harp and a penchant for the blues should consider writing blues tune for the poor freshwater mussels of Alabama- the "Mussels Mosey on Out" or "I'm a Mad Ole Mussel" or something that reflects the sad state of affairs for our mussel friends.
        Currently, the Alabama Fish and Wildlife Services is actively seeking community partnerships and projects which might lead to increased protection of rare mussels. If you'd like to learn more about freshwater mussels in our state, the following papers, projects, and articles might be of interest:
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