Classification: State Endangered
NOTE: Hover over the bold words for definitions or see the Glossary.
Isaac Lea described this species in 1838. The Tennessee heelsplitter has a somewhat elongate and compressed shell. The shell is thin but not fragile. The umbo projects only slightly above the hinge line. The posterior slope is rounded and the ventral margin is straight. There are two pseudocardinal teeth in the left valve and one in the right valve. The lateral teeth are poorly defined and nearly vestigial. The periostracum is yellow or golden brown, darkening to brown or black with age. Young animals may have green or brown rays. The nacre is bluish-white, often with a salmon wash anteriorly and into the beak cavity (Biggins 1990, Parmalee and Bogan 1998).
The Tennessee heelsplitter is widely distributed in small streams throughout the Tennessee and Alabama River drainages in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia; however, it has not been documented in North Carolina since before 1913.
Distribution by County: No extant populations known.
Virtually nothing is known of the life history of this species. It is believed to be bradytictic.
General Life History For Mussels