Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mussels On The Move

When I got back to the boat launch on Friday afternoon, I wandered out onto the bridge to look for turtle tracks in the mud. I didn’t see any turtle tracks in the exposed mud but I noticed, in areas about six inches under water, some trails in the mud. It took me a minute or so to realize that there was something at one end ot the trails. Then I saw it one of them move. It was hard at first to realize that it actually did move. Then I realized I was looking at live mussels feeding in the mud.

3:44 pm. The trail of one of the mussels

3:44 pm. A close up of the mussel.

3:56 pm. Twelve minutes later.

4:25 pm. The trail some 29 minutes later. It has traveled quite a distance and is headed in the general direction of a pine needle that had ‘nosedived’ into the mud.

4:35 pm. Ten minutes later, the mussel is still several inches from the pine needle.

4:44 pm. Nine minutes later, it has reached the pine needle.

4:51 pm. Seven minutes later, it has just passed the pine needle.

This is the first time that I had seen a mussel feeding and was really impressed by the distance it traveled in such a short time.

I found this shell which I think is the shell of the mussel above. It's the only shell of this kind that I have ever seen along the lake shore.

According to the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, approximately 128 species of freshwater mussels are found in Georgia. I have no idea what type of mussel this is but photographed shells that I found along the exposed beach that might give some clue to its identity. Can anyone identify this mussel?
Click on an image to view a larger image

Related posts:
- Fort Yargo State Park: Déjà Vu


rebecca said...

Very cool!! Reminds me of a photo a took a while ago of the trail a sea star had made crawling across wet sand.

Susannah (Wanderin' Weeta) said...

This was all of a year ago, and it still inspires me. Over an hour of patiently looking at mud! No critter behaviour too mundane to investigate!

(I've tracked mud snails, but never for very long.)

JSK said...

Hi Susannah. I was fascinated. I'd never seen mussels move and it was a unique opportunity since the lake level had been lowered for a construction project. That doesn't happen very often so I had the opportunity to solve a mystery. Then I was amazed at how fast they moved. So I was hooked. I did note that it got a bit cold towards the end though.