North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Purple Lilliput (Rafinesque, 1831)

Scientific Name: Toxolasma lividus

Classification:  State Extirpated

Photo Credit: NCWRC




NOTE: Hover over the bold words for definitions or see the Glossary.

The purple lilliput is a small but relatively thick-shelled species, rarely larger than 40 mm in length. There is sexual dimorphism in shell shape with the male shell roughly elliptical and the female shell more round due to an expansion of the posterio-ventral margin to accommodate the marsupium. The periostracum is dark brown or black. The nacre is typically purple. (Parmalee and Bogan 1998)


Shell Anatomy

The purple lilliput has been recorded in the Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland, and Arkansas river basins from Ohio and Virginia through Tennessee, west into Missouri and Oklahoma, and south through Arkansas (Parmalee and Bogan 1998). Its range-wide conservation status is special concern (Williams et al. 1993). This species is no longer found in North Carolina.

Historical Distribution by County: French Broad River in Madison County (Ortmann 1921)


This species inhabits "small to medium sized rivers in mud, sand, and gravel substrates." (Ahlstedt as reported in Parmalee and Bogan 1998)

This species has been found gravid in May and July (Ortmann 1921). Fish hosts include both green and longear sunfish (Watters 1994).


General Life History For Mussels