IUCN threat status:

Endangered (EN)

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The Higgins eye, Lampsilis higginsii (I. Lea, 1857), is a federally endangered freshwater mussel found in the upper Mississippi River, lower St. Croix River, Wisconsin River, and Rock River in North America. It occupies sand and gravel riverbeds, where it partially buries itself. The portion of the mussel that is left above the river bed contains the apertures, which are used during filter feeding. Filter feeding involves drawing water into the incurrent aperture, the mussel uses cilia on its gills to filter out food particles, bacteria, and algae, and water leaves through the excurrent aperture. Though most of the Higgins eye's life is spent partially buried in the river bed, they spend their larval stage of development parasitically attached to a fish host. Higgins eye mussels spawn in the summer and release their larvae (glochidia) usually in May, June, July and September. The Higgins eye shell is rounded to slightly elongate in outline, smooth-surfaced, and yellowish brown in color with green rays. Due to the endangered status of Higgins eye a recovery plan was created in 1983 and revised in 2004 by the Higgins Eye Pearlymussel Recovery Team.


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