mussel beds

Fishy looking mussel

Introducing the Lampsilis mussel. 

what’s so special about this little mussel? Well, it certainly knows how to trick fish into helping it ensure continuation of offspring.

Inside the female mussel, fertilized eggs develop into microscopic larvae known as glochidia. These mussels need to “infect” a host fish with glochidia to complete the reproductive process. The females in the mussel genus Lampsilis have an extension of the mantle tissue that strikingly resembles a small fish. The mussel displays this tissue outside its shell between the valves and twitches it repetitively to attract its predaceous fish host – like a fishing lure.

While attempting to eat the lure, the marsupial gills of the female mussel are ruptured, and the fertilized eggs come loose and attach themselves to the fish. 

They must attach to the gills or the fins of the right fish host and encyst to complete development. It draws blood for a few weeks and the glochidia transform into microscopic juveniles and drop off. If by chance they settle into suitable habitat, a new mussel bed is created.

Video link for more information: