Two Iowa mussels proposed as endangered species


The declining sheepnose mussel or, for fans of Latin, Plethobasus cyphyus. (Photo by Dick Biggins, US Fish and Wildlife Service)

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to add two mussels found in Iowa and parts of the eastern United States- the sheepnose and the spectaclecase –  to the endangered species list as their populations dwindle.

The sheepnose have faced a 69 percent decline in the number of streams it inhabits, and very few of its populations are reproducing.

The spectaclecase is now found in 57 percent fewer streams, and six of its remaining 19 populations consist of just two specimens.

A decline in freshwater mussels generally signals deteriorating water quality, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. That’s likely the case in Iowa, where water pollution is at a record high.

Source: IDNR draft report

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