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The shell of the pistolgrip is elongate, rhombidal and covered with pustules. The posterior ridge is prominent. It may reach 70 mm or more in length. The pseudocardinal and lateral teeth are well developed. The nacre tends to be purple and at times tinted with pink.
This species is found in the Mississippi and Gulf of Mexico drainages (Burch 1975). In North Carolina, it was only known from the New River near the Virginia border (A.G. Gerberich, unpublished data).
This species is known from a wide range of habitats—creeks, small rivers, and large rivers. In smaller rivers and creeks, it is found usually in riffle areas with aquatic plants such as water willow (Justicia americana). In larger rivers, it may be found in deeper waters with sand or mud bottoms.
Ovulation occurs from March to May (Jirka 1986), and gravid females are found from April through June (Gordon and Layzer 1989). Individuals of this species may, at times, be hermaphroditic (Van der Schalie 1970). Fish hosts have not been identified for this species.
General Life History For Mussels