(Texas Comptroller) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has determined that two Texas mussels can be removed from the list of candidate species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The determinations were based mainly on research funded by the Texas Comptroller’s office and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
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Two new freshwater mussel species in Texas will most likely impact current efforts
DALLAS – A team of researchers recently discovered two new freshwater mussel species in Texas, which will likely impact current conservation efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The freshwater mussel team successfully raised an endangered species of mussel in the lab.
Texas A&M AgriLife scientists are working to better understand the ecology and taxonomy of Texas freshwater mussels. These mussels play critically important roles in freshwater ecosystems and have beneficial impacts on human health, making them a high priority for conservation. Fifteen species have previously been classified as "threatened," and now one--the Texas hornshell mussel--is officially listed as "endangered."
Jennifer Morton hovers methodically over a row of clear, water-filled containers on a tight-spaced industrial shelving system. She plucks a mollusk from one of the containers, observing the specimen as part of a study on freshwater mussel tolerances.
Megan Hess, an assistant researcher looking into declining mussel populations, was recognized this past week for her ongoing work to determine the ratio of male to female freshwater mussels among certain critically imperiled species.
Though zebra mussels in Texas give mussels a bad name, other freshwater mussels are welcomed and needed in Texas waters.
Invasive zebra mussels, first confirmed in Texas in 2009, are causing major economic and environmental damages to Texas reservoirs. But unionid mussels, a family of freshwater mussels, are important indicators of water quality and stream health and play an important role in freshwater ecosystems, according to Dr. Charles Randklev, research scientist for the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR).