Mussel of the

Page last updated
1 March 2004

Mussel of the Month

The March 2004 Mussel of the Month is Ptychobranchus subtentum. P. subtentum is endemic to the Cumberland Plateau in the United States.

Ptychobranchus subtentum
INHS 22190. North Fork Clinch River, Robinett, Tennessee. A.A. Hinkley Collection [pre-1921].

Ptychobranchus subtentum is an interesting mussel for a couple reasons. First, it is part of the assemblage of freshwater mussels endemic to the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Virginia. Second, the genus Ptychobranchus has unique modifications for brooding its larvae and delivering them to their host fish. Some amazing pictures can be found at Chris Barnhart's Unio Gallery page about the Fluted Kidneyshell.


Phylum Mollusca
Class Bivalvia
Subclass Palaeoheterodonta
Order Unionoida

Superfamily Unionoidea Rafinesque, 1820

Family Unionidae s.s.
Subfamily Ambleminae Rafinesque, 1820
Tribe Lampsilini von Ihering, 1901

Genus Ptychobranchus Simpson, 1900

Species Ptychobranchus subtentum (Say, 1825)

NSF icon MUSSEL icon
"Making the world a better place, one mollusk at a time."