Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Field guide to Freshwater Mussels of the Midwest

Cummings, K.S., and C.A. Mayer. 1992. Field guide to freshwater mussels of the Midwest. Illinois Natural History Survey Manual 5. 194 pp.

Photo of field guide to freshwater mussels

Inner Cover | Index | Table of Contents

The Illinois Natural History Survey has published a first-of-its-kind field guide to freshwater mussels of the Midwest. Written by Survey investigators Kevin S. Cummings and Christine A. Mayer, this 208-page, hardcover book will help amateurs and professionals alike in identifying species, many of which look remarkably similar. A color photograph of the shell of each species helps ensure quick identification.

The front section of the book includes information on the biology, economic importance, and conservation of freshwater mussels, which are one of the most endangered groups of animals in North America. Surveys conducted over the past few decades have documented significant declines in mussel populations because of overharvesting, competition from exotic species such as the zebra mussel, water pollution, and other factors.

The bulk of the book consists of species accounts for each of about 75 native mussels. The text portion of each account includes a description of key characteristics of the mussel and the habitat in which it is normally found; each account also contains, in addition to a color photograph, a range map showing the geographic distribution of the species.

Field Guide to Freshwater Mussels of the Midwest is available for purchase.

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