This species is widely distributed throughout the St. Lawrence, upper Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland River Basins. In North Carolina, the species is now restricted to the Hiwassee and Little Tennessee river basins. It has been extirpated from the Watauga and French Broad River Basins of North Carolina. Distribution by County: Tennessee River Basin: Cherokee Co. (Hiwassee River); Clay Co. (Hiwassee River); Macon Co. (Little Tennessee River); Swain Co. (Little Tennessee River). NOTE: All headwater areas that flow into these occupied habitats should receive special management.
In North Carolina, the rainbow is often found in backwater areas with silt and sand substrates; however, it is also found in faster flowing areas under boulders.
This is a bradytictic
females have been observed from July to May (Ortmann 1919). Numerous fish hosts have been identified for this species, including: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, Suwannee bass, rockbass, and the western mosquitofish (Watters 1994, as reported in Parmalee and Bogan 1998).
General Life History For Mussels