WASHINGTON (CN) – The fatmucket, heelsplitter and pimpleback are three of the nine species of Texas mussels that may receive protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requesting scientific and commercial data on the species for a year long status review.
The mussels are threatened by fluctuations in water level and stream flow and changes in water salinity caused by oil and gas drilling operations, according to a petition to protect the species by WildEarth Guardians.
The nine species are freshwater, bottom-dwelling mussels that burrow into the substrate to maintain position. Frequent changes in water level cause the mussels to lose their hold, and may break up colonies before they can reproduce.