Yellow sandshell

Lampsilis teres (Rafinesque, 1820)

Yellow sandshell
Lampsilis teres, INHS 7386. Embarras River, Lawrence County, Illinois. Length: 4.5 inches (11.4 cm) for male (top), 4.4 inches (11.2 cm) for female (bottom).

Other common names: Banana shell, bank climber, slough sandshell, creeper, sand clam, luster shell.

Key characters: Elongate, relatively thick, often glossy shell; adults usually solid yellow, juveniles yellowish green with fine green rays.

Similar species: Fatmucket, black sandshell, pondhorn, scaleshell.

Description: Shell relatively large, elongate, moderately thick, and somewhat inflated. Anterior end rounded, posterior end pointed in males, truncated in females. Dorsal margin straight, ventral margin straight or occasionally pinched in the middle. Umbos only slightly elevated above the hinge line. Beak sculpture of four to six double-looped ridges. Shell smooth, very shiny when young, becoming dull with age. Periostracum yellow, usually with green rays in young shells, rayless in older individuals. Length to 6 inches (15.2 cm).

Yellow sandshell distribution map 1992

Pseudocardinal teeth elongate and compressed; two in the left valve, one in the right (occasionally with a thin, ridgelike tooth in front). Lateral teeth long and straight to slightly curved; two in the left valve, one in the right. Beak cavity moderately deep. Nacre silvery white, occasionally tinged with cream or salmon near the beak cavity, iridescent posteriorly.

Habitat: Medium to large rivers in sand or fine gravel.

Status: Endangered in Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

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