The Texas Hornshell Mussel: An Endangered ‘Engineer’ of an Endangered River System

The Texas hornshell mussel recently received protection under the Endangered Species Act. It is the only native mussel species in New Mexico, where eight species once thrived.

By Dallas BaxterApril 2, 2018 9:30 am| , , ,

From Marfa Public Radio:

It’s a member of one of the most endangered groups of animals in the United States, and its home is one of the most imperiled river systems in the world.

The Texas hornshell mussel is native to the Rio Grande and its tributaries. But like that river system, it’s at the brink. In February 2018, the mussel received federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Brownish in color, the hornshell is nondescript. But it has a fascinating life history. And its fate is tied to one of this arid land’s most precious resources: its rivers and streams.

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