Photo by Edwin Miller
used by permission

Alasmidonta marginata

Federal Status:

State Status:

  • Range: Kansas range map for the Elktoe
    Dark Blue = Counties with designated critical habitat
    Light Blue = Historical records
    A detailed range map may be found in the Mussel Bed
  • Comments:  The elktoe has a beautifully-marked shell with narrow rays and spots on a background of bright, yellowish green. It is relatively thin-shelled with poorly developed interior teeth. Freshwater mussels have an extendible foot used for locomotion. In the elktoe, it is orange and elongated. In Kansas, the elktoe is found in the Spring and Marais des Cygnes rivers. It lives under swift, flowing riffles in stable gravel or gravel-sand substrates. The larval form of this mussel has a pair of hooks that enable it to clamp onto a fish’s fin. If the fish is a suitable host, the glochidia (larvae) eventually transform into juvenile mussels and drop off. The host fishes found in Kansas are the white sucker, northern hogsucker, shorthead redhorse and warmouth.

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Other Gastropods on the Kansas T&E List

Kansas Wildlife Refuge
Text: Ed Miller and Bob Gress
Range Maps and Web Design: Jim Mason

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Great Plains Nature Center
6232 E. 29th Street North
Wichita, KS 67220-2200             Call:  316-683-5499            Fax:  316-688-9555