Black Sandshell (Ligumia recta)

Two black mussel half shells.

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Black sandshells are found in medium to large rivers such as the Mississippi where waters flows continously through. Most often, they are embedded in gravel or firm sand. They are widely distributed across the US Midwest, but are not common. Host species, which spread the mussel's young, include rock bass, common carp, green sunfish, bluegill, largemouth bass, and white crappie.
Black sandshells are also known as the black sand mussel, long john, honest john, sow's ear, and lady's slipper.

The outer shell is dark green, brown or black, sometimes with green rays. The inner shell is white, pink, purple or some combination of these colors.
The smooth shell is much longer than wide and appears swollen. The end closest to the beak of both sexes are round, while their opposite end varies slightly. The end farthest to the beak of the female is rounded, while that of the male is more pointed. The elastic part of the shell the connects the two halves together at the top is straight. The bottom of the shell may be either straight or curved.
Species with which they may be confused include the Spectacle Case, Spike, and Western Pondmussel.
The black sandshell is a species of Special Concern in Minnesota.

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