Monday, May 10, 2010

Mussel Mania Part 2

Western Pearlshell mussel releasing conglutinates.

OK, in February I wrote a bit about the reproductive cycle of freshwater mussels. Well, last week I witnessed part of the cycle. It was very exciting. Apparently Western pearlshell mussels release conglutinates, a mucousy white mass filled with glochidia (mussel larvae). The conglutinates break up in the water current and settle to the bottom of the stream, where they resemble little white worms. That's the easy part of the life cycle. Soon after being released, a suitable host fish needs to eat 'the worm'. After being ingested, the glochidia attach to the gills of the fish and begin their transformation into free living mussels. That is, if all goes well!

Wormlike mass of glochidia.

1 comment:

  1. well my brothers, my sister, and I went down by our creek today and my brother was looking for crayfish when he went to lift up a rock there was a worm type thing like the picture above, and the worm grabbed his middle finger and started to like suck on it. He screamed and he said some type of worm started to suck on his fingers, and we went home and looked it up. Is it poisonous??