The rainbow mussel is found in the Ohio, Tennessee and upper Mississippi river systems. In the Great Lakes it is found in drainages of Lakes Michigan, Huron, Ontario and Erie. The southern limit of this species is difficult to define because of taxonomic uncertainties of species and subspecies in the south.
Found in Michigan's lower peninsula, V. iris occurs in the Lake Michigan tributaries from the Muskegon south to the St. Joseph River on the west side of the state. On the east side of the state it is also found in the Saginaw River drainages and Lake Erie drainages.
Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )