Flat Floater
Photo by Bob Gress
used by permission

Flat Floater
Anodonta suborbiculata

Federal Status:

State Status:

  • Range: Kansas range map for the Flat Floater
    Dark Blue = Counties with designated critical habitat
    Light Blue = Historical records
    A detailed range map may be found in the Mussel Bed
  • Comments:  The flat floater lives in the soft mud of oxbow lakes and ponds that are occasionally flooded by the Neosho and Marais des Cygnes rivers. Relative to other freshwater mussels, it is a short-lived species (8-12 years). The thin, yellowish-green shell is smooth, shiny and nearly circular. There are no interlocking teeth to hold the valve together. The tiny, hooked larvae (glochidia) must attach to a host fish before they can mature. In late winter a female flat floater releases mucous strands laced with glochidia. When a fish swims through this “web,” some of the glochidia clamp down on the fish’s fins. If the fish is a suitable host and a spring flood occurs, the fish will carry these “hitchhikers” to invade other oxbow habitats when they drop off the host fish. There are several known fish hosts in Kansas including white crappie, warmouth, largemouth bass, golden shiner and mosquitofish.

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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