Family: Pearl Mussels (Margaritiferidae)
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Did you know?
Margaritifera means "pearl-bearer." The city of Pearl River, NY was probably named for pearls taken from this species in nearby Muddy Brook (Strayer and Jirka 1997).
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Only a handful of scattered populations are known, and most of these contain very few individuals. At present only one healthy population is known to occur in a tributary of Lake Champlain.
The apparently healthy population in the Salmon River was discovered in the late 1990s (NYNHP files) and other undiscovered populations may occur throughout eastern New York in nutrient poor, softwater trout streams (Strayer and Jirka 1997).
A population in a tributary of the Hudson River in southern New York illustrates the general decline of this species. It had been known to occupy the Hackensack River basin in Rockland County since the mid 1800s and appeared to be thriving as recently as the 1950s. However by the early 1990s only 3 individuals were found and it was soon expected to become extirpated from this locale, probably as a result of the intense urbanization of the watershed (Strayer 1994; Strayer and Jirka 1997).