Mussel of the

Page last updated
1 February 2005

Mussel of the Month

The February 2005 Mussel of the Month is Mycetopoda pittieri. The genus Mycetopoda is widespread in the New World, from South America north into Mexico.

Mycetopoda pittieri
INHS 14870. Rio Camoruco, between Estero & Campo Alegre,
about 10 km NW Libertad Cojedes, Venezuela.
9 January 1993, K.S. Cummings & C.A. Mayer!

Freshwater mussels in the genus Mycetopoda are unique in that they have a long "mushroom-shaped" foot (hence the name Mycetopoda). They use the foot to anchor themselves deep into the stream bottom (usually a clay or mud bank). When a predator (or collector) happens upon them they quickly retract the foot and retreat into the substrate thus avoiding capture. It isn't always successful as many streams are littered with the broken shells of these animals left over by wading birds that had been feeding on the mussels.


Phylum Mollusca
Class Bivalvia
Subclass Palaeoheterodonta
Order Unionoida

Superfamily Etherioidea Deshayes, 1830

Family Mycetopodidae Gray, 1840
Subfamily Mycetopodinae s.s.

Genus Mycetopoda d'Orbigny, 1835

Species Mycetopoda pittieri Marshall, 1927

For more information, check out the following:
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