Thursday, 26 March 2015

Creature 177: Epioblasma triquetra

Parasitic biting mussel
Epioblasma triquetra is a fairly ordinary looking mussel which is referred to as the snuffbox mussel.

Juvenile snuffbox mussels are parasitic,  living inside fish and feeding off their skin and gills. When they are ready to become adults they leave the fish and grow a shell. This shell has a line of nasty looking teeth. Females use these teeth to infect suitable fish with the next generation of parasitic mussels. She wait until a small enough fish approaches and they snap shut around the fish's face. She then proceeds to inject juvenile mussels into the victim. in most fish of the appropriate size this process is fatal, which is why the parasites are almost always found in one particularly tough species known as the common longperch.

Epioblasma triquetra lives in the great lakes and the Mississippi river system.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Order: Unionoida
Family: Unionidae
Genus: Epioblasma
Species: Epioblasma triquetra

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