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Nearly 300 species of mussels inhabit fresh-water rivers, streams, and lakes in the United States. This is the richest diversity of mussels found in the world and an extraordinary natural heritage that needs protection. Because of the lustrous, pearl-like interior of the shells, some of these pearly mussels have important commercial value in the cultured pearl and jewelry industry. Our pearly mussels are of unique ecological value as natural biological filters, food for fish and wildlife, and indicators of good water quality.
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
January 7, 2020