The Freshwater Mussels (Unionacea) of the Mollusc Division 
The Museum of Biological Diversity
The Ohio State University

A Pictorial Guide 

Photography by Trisha Menker.

Worldwide freshwater molluscs in general have suffered from a lack of comprehensive field guides, iconographies, and monographs. In this regard their marine brethren have left them in the proverbial dust. Although guides to species have been produced for political units, the malacologist wishing to compare the species of Lampsilis, Lamprotula, or anything else across the board really has nowhere to go. This is a first attempt at filling that gap. It is important to note that this is not a comprehensive list of all of the world's freshwater mussels (but stay tuned...) - only those in our collection. Distributions are given only to continent - please use the collection database for more locality information.

So, this is a photographic journey through the freshwater mussels of the collection. We have selected a representative of each species to illustrate. Over 500 species, subspecies, and forms are presented, and we hope to include more photos in the future. We do not find any taxonomic scheme so far devised, whether genetic, morphological, or zoogeographic, to be completely acceptable or (God forbid) even remotely agreed upon. The scheme presented here is based on morphological characteristics.

The Families:


Last update: 27 July 2005

Species added in last update

The main portion of the Bivalve Range. The Range is ~7600 sq. ft (703 sq.m). Dry lots are housed in locally-built Amish cabinets or (for larger lots) boxes. All lots feature stand-up labels for easy access. Specimens are arranged in a single layer in the same orientation for easy comparison. All specimens are computer cataloged and most are accessible from the web.

The collection has over 74,000 lots of freshwater mussels comprised of >415,000 specimens. Twenty-four lots of primary types are included. Nearly 9,300 specimens are preserved in ETOH; none were fixed in formalin. Other features of the Range include the extremely rare John Jenkinson Mobile o' Mussels and Bob the Clam.

Left to right: The Wall of Fame, photos of our fearless leaders in the field of freshwater malacology. Some monster mussels from China. Trisha Menker, unflagging photographer and PhotoPaint guru.