I'm doing a museum based study of two freshwater mussels, Quadrula nobilis (Gulf Mapleleaf) and Pyganodon lacustris (Lake Floater). The mapleleaf and floater groups have caused their fair share of head scratching among malacologists. Both species have been validated by DNA evidence, but thanks to shell variation that often blurs species boundaries, their distribution in North America is still unclear. I got a kick out of an old note in one lot of mapleleafs from Louisiana:
“I am puzzled over a lot of this……….shells from Frierson. Do you call these forsheyi or lacrymosus or what……” (see photos). Some things never change.
I’m also interested in finding specimens from Minnesota and the Upper Mississippi River that are extirpated or for which few records exist. Collections like UMMZ are invaluable for this type of work.