Photo by Ed Miller
used by permission
up to 5 inches
Blue = current range
Hollow circles = former range
- Status in Kansas:
Common in eastern third of Kansas,
also Smoky Hill & Solomon Rivers
- North American Status:
Distribution includes the
entire Mississippi River drainage; various localities in the St. Lawrence basin; the Red
River of the North; southwest into eastern Texas; and southeast to Louisiana. In Canada,
it found in the Assiniboine, Bloodvein, Red and the Roseau Rivers in Manitoba and Lake St.
Clair and western Lake Erie and tributaries including the Sydenham, Ausable, Grand, Thames
Rivers in Ontario. The species is secure throughout its range with some declines in the
Canadian portions recently.
The mapleleaf shells shape resembles its namesake. A noticeable ridge, with an
adjacent valley (finger groove), is consistently apparent in the external shell structure.
This groove, or sulcus, is often bordered by a row of pustules lining each ridge. This
mussel species has the most shell variability across its wide geographical range in North
America, creating taxonomic struggles. It is unique in having the flathead catfish as its
only known fish host. Without this fish present, the mapleleaf would eventually disappear.
Because host fish can gain immunity from past glochidia infestations, it is necessary that
young flathead catfish be produced each year to be suitable candidates to host mapleleaf
glochidia. The mapleleaf is found in a wide array of habitats including small sandy
streams in western Kansas, backwater pools within larger rivers and even large reservoirs.
This suggests it is a generalist species and more tolerant of pollution than other
- Fish Hosts:
Text: Ed Miller, Karen Couch and Jim Mason
Range Maps & Web Design: Jim Mason