Western Fanshell
Photo by Edwin Miller
used by permission

Western Fanshell
Cyprogenia aberti

Federal Status:

State Status:

  • Range: Kansas range map for Western Fanshell
    Dark Blue = Counties with designated critical habitat
    Light Blue = Historical records
    A detailed range map may be found in the Mussel Bed
  • Comments: Wide, greenish, radiating rays on its shell give the western fanshell its name. This mussel lives in gravel beds under a swift current. It is found in the Fall,Verdigris and Spring rivers and is now extirpated from the Neosho River. The known host fishes in Kansas are fantail, orangethroat and slenderhead darters, logperch and banded sculpin. The female fanshell slowly extrudes a white, wormlike lure (conglutinate) to attract the host fish. The core of this lure is composed of approximately 20,000 infertile eggs but the outer areas are lined with live larval mussels called glochidia. When the lure is bitten by the host fish, some of the hookless glochidia become dislodged and snap shut on the fish’s gills. The female western fanshell may release up to 30 of these 2-3 inch long lures. Mound-building Indians evidently revered this mussel as they have been found in burial mounds.

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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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