Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Cyclonaias tuberculata (Rafinesque, 1820)

Purple wartyback


Cyclonaias tuberculata, INHS 4078Cyclonaias tuberculata, INHS 4078. Tippecanoe River, Fulton County, Indiana.
Length: 3.5 inches (8.9 cm).

Other common namesMissouri mapleleaf, purple pimpleback, deerhorn.

Key characters Rounded shell with a fairly prominent wing, beak covered with fine wavy sculpturing, no green stripe on the umbo, purple nacre. Deep and compressed beak cavity.

Similar species Orange-foot pimplebackpimplebackmapleleafwartyback.

Description Shell round, moderately thick, and compressed to moderately inflated (large rivers). Anterior end rounded, posterior end somewhat squared off. Dorsal margin straight, a wing present behind the umbo; ventral margin curved. Umbos low, even with, or barely rising above the hinge line. Beak sculpture of numerous wavy ridges covering the surface of the umbo. Shell surface, except the anterior fourth, covered with tubercles, forming small ridges on the dorsal wing. Periostracum yellowish brown or greenish brown in young shells (rarely rayed), becoming dark brown in older shells. Length to 5 inches (12.7 cm).Cyclonaias tuberculata distribution

Pseudocardinal teeth large and well developed; two in the left valve, one in the right (usually with a small tooth on either side). Lateral teeth short, striated, and straight or slightly curved; two in the left valve, one in the right. Beak cavity very deep. Nacre usually deep purple, occasionally white with a purple tinge.

Habitat Medium to large rivers in gravel or mixed sand and gravel.

Status Widespread but uncommon in most of the Midwest. Endangered in Wisconsin. Threatened in Iowa. Species of Special Concern in Michigan. Species of Special Interest in Ohio.

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