Ouachita Kidneyshell
Photo by Edwin Miller
used by permission

Ouachita Kidneyshell
Ptychobranchus occidentalis

Federal Status:

State Status:

  • Range: Kansas range map for the Ouachita Kidneyshell
    Dark Blue = Counties with designated critical habitat
    Light Blue = Historical records
    A detailed range map may be found in the Mussel Bed
  • Comments: The Ouachita kidneyshell is an Ozarkian mussel that occurs in southeast Kansas. It is found in riffles of the Fall, Verdigris and Spring rivers. The shell is flattened, heavy for its size and kidney-shaped. The shell has several distinct fine-lined rays radiating from the umbo (the dorsally raised or inflated portion of the shell). Glochidia (larvae) are released from the female in packets that resemble aquatic insects. Each packet is a lure that contains about 250 glochidia. If the fish bites, this packet bursts in its mouth. Some of the released glochidia flow over the fish’s gills where they quickly snap shut to attach. Once on the gill filaments, the glochidia encyst, metamorphose into juveniles, then drop off the host to begin a new generation. The known fish hosts in Kansas are orange-throat and greenside darters.

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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
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