North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Savannah Lilliput (Conrad, 1838)

Scientific Name: Toxolasma pullus

Classification:  State Endangered

Photo Credit: NCWRC




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

The Savannah lilliput was described by Conrad in 1838 from the Wateree River in South Carolina. This species has a small, somewhat inflated, oval or elliptical shell. A large specimen would be 35 mm in length, 20 mm in height, and 16 mm wide. The Savannah lilliput is sexually dimorphic with female shells having a broader, more truncated posterior end. The ventral margin is curved in males and straight in females. The umbo is prominent and located in the anterior third of the shell. The periostracum has a coarse, satiny texture because of the numerous, closely spaced growth lines. The periostracum is generally blackish in color but can be brownish, greenish, or olivish with obscure, very fine green rays (Johnson 1970). The nacre is bluish white with a pink to purplish iridescence at the posterior end. The left valve has two triangular pseudocardinal teeth and two short, straight, lateral teeth. The right valve has one chunky, triangular pseudocardinal and one lateral tooth.


Shell Anatomy

The Savannah lilliput is a southern Atlantic Slope species that occurs from the Altamaha River Basin in Georgia north to the Neuse River Basin in North Carolina (Johnson 1970). This species is presently considered extirpated from the Neuse and Waccamaw river basins. Distribution by County: Pee Dee River Basin: Union Co. (Crooked and Richardson creek subbasins); Montgomery Co. (Densons Creek Subbasin); Randolph Co. (Little River Subbasin). Cape Fear River Basin: Orange Co. (University Lake) NOTE: All headwater areas that flow into these occupied habitats should receive special management.


This species may be found in creeks, rivers, and impounded habitats. It is typically found in sand, silty-sand or mud substrate and appears to prefer near shore, still, shallow water, less than 6 inches in depth.

Little is known about the life history of the Savannah lilliput at this time.


General Life History For Mussels