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Three American mussel species lost to extinction

Three American mussel species lost to extinction

Three American mussel species go extinct
Jeremy Hance,
August 10, 2008

After a five year review, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has asked to take three mussels species off the Endangered Species List due to the belief that the mussels are extinct. The three species were all native to the Tennessee River and are thought to have gone extinct due to drastic changes in water conditions, including pollution and dams.

All three of the species were added to the Endangered Species List in 1976. Neither the wonderfully-named turgid-blossom pearlymussel or the yellow-blossom pearlymussel have been seen in 43 and 41 years respectively—despite regular searches in the river system. The green-blossom pearlymussel has been absent from its river systems for 26 years.

The five year review is the beginning of the de-listing process. To officially take species off the Endangered Species List, the species will undergo a separate rulemaking process, including time for the public to comment.

In regard to these lost mussels, Rob Tawes, a deputy field supervisor in Alabama for the Fish and Wildlife Service, told the Huntsville Times that the Tennessee River “is the epicenter of mussel biodiversity, with more than 100 species recorded in it. It was, and is along with its tributaries, a special place.” He states that portions of the river contain “everything from tiny mussels to some weighing 9 to 11 pounds.”

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