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Spectaclecase (Cumberlandia monodonta)



Spectacle case (Cumberlandia monodonta) is both State Endangered and Federally Endangered in Wisconsin. This species is found in large rivers in the western part of the state. It lives beneath large boulders, rock ledges or in rock crevices. The host organism is still unknown.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Spectaclecase (Cumberlandia monodonta). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Cumberlandia monodonta in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in WisconsinLE
State RankS1
Global RankG3
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

Note: a species guidance document is not available at this time. Information below was compiled from publication PUB-ER-085-99 (now out-of-print).

Identification: Elongate shell somewhat pinched in the middle with poorly developed teeth. Shell's surface is smooth and brown when young, becoming dark green, brown, or black and rayless with age. The anterior and posterior ends are rounded. Ventral margin is broadly concave while the dorsal margin is broadly convex. Shell is thin when young, becoming thicker in older individuals. The beak sculpture has three or four heavy ridges. The nacre is white. Length to 8 inches (20.3 cm).

Habitat: Inhabits large rivers with swiftly flowing water, most often found among boulders in patches of sand, cobble, or gravel where the current is reduced.

State Distribution: Occurs in the Chippewa, Mississippi, and St.Croix Rivers.

Phenology: The glochidial host fish is unknown for this species. It has been observed gravid from May through June.

Management Guidelines: Habitat destruction and river pollution have resulted in mussel declines. Protection of habitat and improvements in water quality along with restriction of dredging, impoundments, sand and gravel mining, and navigational improvements would benefit this species.




Photo © Kevin Cummings.

Last revised: Tuesday, February 19, 2019