North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Tidewater Mucket (Say, 1817)

Scientific Name: Leptodea ochracea

Classification:  State Threatened

Photo Credit: NCWRC
   

Interior

 

Exterior 

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

Say described the tidewater mucket in 1817. The ventral margin of the shell is tightly curved from anterior to posterior giving the shell a somewhat circular shape. The beaks are inflated and rise above the hinge line. The periostracum may be olive green or yellow to golden brown often with fine green rays over the entire surface of the shell. The pseudocardinal teeth are lamellate and the lateral teeth are slightly curved. There is no interdentum. The nacre is typically bluish-white and iridescent and with an occasional pink or salmon wash.

 

Shell Anatomy

 

The tidewater mucket has been recorded from coastal freshwaters from the Savannah River Drainage in Georgia north into Nova Scotia (Johnson 1970). In North Carolina, this species has been documented from the Chowan, Roanoke, Tar, Neuse, and Waccamaw drainages.

Distribution by County: Bertie Co. (Cashie River Subbasin); Chowan Co. (Chowan River Basin); Columbus Co. (Waccamaw River Basin); Gates Co. (Chowan River Basin); Hertford Co. ( Meherrin River Subbasin); Northampton Co. (Meherrin River Subbasin); Washington Co. (Roanoke River Basin) NOTE: All headwater areas that flow into these occupied habitats should receive special management.

 


The tidewater mucket appears to be somewhat of a generalist in that it has been documented from lakes, ponds, canals, streams, and rivers. It is most often found in sand/silt substrates; in Lake Waccamaw, the highest density of this species was found in the "northwest shallow sand subregion" (Porter 1985).
The tidewater mucket is bradytictic; females are gravid from December to June (Porter 1985, Porter and Horn 1983). No fish host has been identified for this species, although the alewife and members of genus Menidia (silversides) have been suggested as potential hosts based on the distribution of the species in coastal freshwaters (Porter 1990).

General Life History For Mussels