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Higgins Eye pearlymussel

Page history last edited by Steve Escher 15 years, 2 months ago


Higgins Eye translates scientifically to Lampsilis Higginsii.  The pearlymussel is an organism that lives only in freshwater.  It has a smooth textured shell and appears to be yellowish brown with green rays.  They usually are no longer than four inches, and the inside of the shell is white and has an irredescent tint.  Since 1980, these mussels have been found in the upper Mississippi River north of Lock and Dam 19 and in other parts of Wisconsin as well.  These mussels are usually found in large rivers with deep water and moderate currents.  Their habitat includes lodging themselves within the sand and gravel river beds with only a little bit of their shell exposed.  The mussels roll in the ecosystem is to provide nourishment to wildlife like muskrats, otters, and raccoons and as a filter which improves water quality. [1]



Habitat Loss

Because of different river systems and the changes in the water flow patterns within the newly compounded river systems; fish habitats and movement effect feed and reproduction.  Farm-run off and industrial waste also degrade the water quality.  The greatest threat to the Higgins eye is the freshwater Zebra mussel.  It attaches to the shells of other mussels including the Higgins eye and prevents them from traveling, feeding, and reproducing. [1]


Endangered Species

In 1976, this particular mussel was added to the list of the U.S. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.  As a result, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service developed an action plan to help protect the species.  This plan mainly focuses on the threat from Zebra mussels, and what to do about them hindering the life span of Pearly Eye mussels.  After the 35W Bridge collapse, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were very concerned with the water quality of the river after the accident and were supposed to be prompted if there were toxins in the water near the mussels.  However, there were none and the Higgins Eye pearlymussel population is stable. [1]



1.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Retrieved on 4.15.08. Higgins Eye



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