Scientific Name: Elliptio waccamawensis

Classification:  State Threatened

Photo Credit: NCWRC




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

This species was described by Isaac Lea in 1863. The Waccamaw spike may be distinguished from the male Waccamaw fatmucket, Lampsilis fullerkati, by a very sharp, angular posterior ridge. The periostracum ranges in color from golden brown to dark brown or black. Faint green rays may occur along the posterior slope. Wrinkles often occur on the posterior slope. The ventral margin is straight. Nacre color is bluish-white and irridescent. There are two small pseudocardinal teeth in each valve; the lateral teeth are long, thin, and straight.


Shell Anatomy

The Waccamaw spike is restricted to the Waccamaw River drainage in North and South Carolina.

Distribution by County: Columbus Co. (Waccamaw River Subbasin, including Lake Waccamaw) NOTE: All headwater areas that flow into these occupied habitats should receive special management.


The Waccamaw spike is one of the most abundant mussel species in Lake Waccamaw and can be found throughout the lake in areas of both clean sand and detritus.

This species is a tachytictic breeder. Females may be gravid from April to August (Porter 1990). The fish host for the Waccamaw spike has not been identified at this time.


General Life History For Mussels