This booklet was funded in part by the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society, the Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee, and other agencies.
Freshwater Mollusks are important
North American streams, rivers, and lakes support the richest diversity of freshwater mollusks on the planet. Over 700 species of snails and 300 species of freshwater mussels have been described by scientists so far. While there are species associated with every type of aquatic habitat, the greatest diversity is found in flowing streams.
Our freshwater mollusks are not only a fascinating part of our natural heritage
but have global significance. As a group, they serve vital functions in freshwater
ecosystems and many species are commercially important. Their life history
is amazing, and the behavior ranges from the simple to the bizarre and unbelievable.
Unfortunately, freshwater mollusks are the most imperiled group of animals
in America, and many populations are disappearing at an alarming rate. This
decline is telling us something because mollusks are good indicators of healthy
ecosystems. What is happening to our nation’s freshwater systems? How does
is affect people?
This website is dedicated to:
• informing the public about the incredible life history
of freshwater mollusks
• exploring the issues that have lead to this decline
• empowering citizens to care about this important part of our natural heritage