Tuesday, March 25, 2014

One in a million…

That’s about the chances a Western pearlshell mussel larvae or glochidia has of surviving to become a free living mussel.   The Western pearlshell has several strategies which may help it overcome these huge odds though.  First of all, they can live well over 100 years and are among the longest lived animal species on the planet.  Second, they release millions of eggs each year they reproduce (3 to 4 million).  Third, they are capable of reproducing throughout their lives.  Last but by far, not least, in sparse populations, female Western pearlshell mussels may become hermaphroditic and self-fertilize.  More on these amazing creatures soon.     

Western Pearlshell mussels
Submitted by Donna Allard