Migrating Mapleleaf Mussels

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Winged Mapleleaf Mussel
Photo courtesy of Flickr user USFWSMidwest

Tennessee has welcomed home one of its own. The winged mapleleaf mussel, an endangered species that hadn’t been seen in the state in more than two decades, was returned to the Duck River this past fall by federal and state biologists.

The mussel reintroduction effort was seven years in the making. The species dates back to the 1800s, but by the time they were listed as endangered in 1991, only five known populations existed.

Chris Davidson, a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist and the Southeast Regional lead for the species, says that reintroducing the mussel to rivers within its historical range, such as the Duck River, is part of the recovery goals for the species. The Tennessee River was also chosen due to its long-term monitoring sites. Biologists will be able to later identify the reintroduced mussels, which were tagged with unique numbers.

Learn more at fws.gov/southeast.

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