NOTE: Hover over the bold words for definitions or see the Glossary.
Rafinesque described this species in 1820. As with most species of the genus Lampsilis, the wavyrayed lampmussel exhibits sexual dimorphism in shell shape. Females are relatively circular, while males are more elliptical. The periostracum is a shiny golden yellow with wavy green rays usually distributed over the entire shell surface. The nacre is white to bluish white and may be iridescent in fresh shells. The pseudocardinal teeth are triangular; two in the left valve, one in the right. Lateral teeth are slightly curved.
This species is distributed from the Great Lakes, through the Ohio and Mississippi river drainages, and into the Tennessee River Basin (Parmalee and Bogan 1998). In addition to the species' current North Carolina distribution, its historical distribution in North Carolina included the French Broad and Pigeon river basins. Distribution by County: Cherokee Co. (Hiwassee River); Macon Co. (Little Tennessee River); Swain Co. (Little Tennessee River); Mitchell Co. (Nolichucky River Basin); Yancey Co. (Nolichucky River Basin). NOTE: All headwater areas that flow into these occupied habitats should receive special management.
This species is typically found in rivers and streams with coarse sand and gravel beds.
Fish hosts for this species include the small and largemouth bass (Zale and Neves 1982, Watson 1999). The sexual dimorphism in shell shape suggests that this species, like many other members of the genus Lampsilis, is bradytictic. Females in the Little Tennessee River display exceptional variability in the types of mimics used to attract the fish host.
General Life History For Mussels