Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Massachusetts
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Massachusetts Project

Yellow Lampmussel Habitat Assessment in the Connecticut River

June 2021 - April 2025


Participating Agencies

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Yellow Lampmussel (YLM), Lampsilis cariosa, is a freshwater mussel that has been declining throughout its range and is considered endangered in many states, including Massachusetts and Connecticut. Informal comparisons across boundaries have revealed that YLM populations occur in a variety of habitats throughout its range. However, little is known about the microhabitats that exist within the Connecticut River or their association with YLM. Mapping these fine-scale habitat features using side-scan sonar could illuminate this relationship. A goal of this project is to associate habitat characteristics within the Connecticut River and YLM presence/absence. A highly-accurate, fine-scale habitat assessment using side-scan sonar could be invaluable for land managers within the Connecticut River watershed and beyond.
An understanding of host fish for YLM is also essential for understanding the species’ historic and current distribution and developing conservation plans. Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) is a piscivorous fish that may be a suitable host for YLM; it is closely related to a confirmed host fish species. Observations of YLM glochidial infestation in wild populations of Striped Bass with a large sample size, combined with successful encystment and metamorphosis in laboratory conditions, would confirm this species as a viable host fish. This would have important implications for the conservation of YLM, with Striped Bass serving as a critical source of long-distance dispersal across drainages.