Did you know that Texas is home to over 50 different species of freshwater mussels? Well, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has just declared that 6 of these species in Texas are now considered endangered.

These little fellas are commonly called the "liver of the river" due to the fact that they filter the nasty stuff from rivers and lakes.

When a mussel feeds, it sorta sucks up a bunch of water with all of the nasty sediment and tiny organisms in it. Then it shoots the water back out but not after filtering it clean and eating any of those organisms as food.

So, let's take a look at the species of mussel that are now considered endangered in Texas. Please do not be distracted by the fact that the names of these species sound like Shakespearean insults...

Guadalupe Fatmucket and Texas Fatmucket


Found in the Guadalupe River Basin and central Texas, these mussels are known to find a host fish and attach on to their gills as juveniles (cheaters).

Guadalupe Orb


These guys can live for 15 years, minimum, in the wild and can be found in at least 8 Texas counties.

Texas Pimpleback

One of the less... flattering names on the list. These mussels also find a host fish for help in feeding as they mature around the Texas Hill Country.

Balcones Spike and False Spike


Residents of the Guadalupe and Brazos River Basins, these critters only travel on fish-back or with strong currents as they were also missing for over 40 years until 2011.

Texas Fawnsfoot

These species of mussel have a unique reproductive strategy that involves self-sacrifice... gnarly.

So, the next time you go mussel-huntin' in Texas, just make sure you know the laws of these species so you don't get in trouble.

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