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For information on Wisconsin's rare vertebrate animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
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Jay Watson
Conservation Biologist

Yellow & Slough Sandshells (Lampsilis teres)



Yellow Sandshell (Lampsilis teres anodontoides) and Slough Sandshell (Lampsilis teres teres) are subspecies of Lampsilis teres, which is listed as Endangered in Wisconsin. They are found in large rivers in the western part of the state. The yellow sandshell occurs in swift currents in clean swept sandy areas in the main channel. Eight fish species have been recorded as its host, including gars, basses, sturgeon and centrarchid species. The slough sandshell occurs in muddy areas adjacent to the current of large rivers. Three fish species have been recorded as its host, including gar species.

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 Yellow & Slough Sandshells (Lampsilis teres). 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 Lampsilis teres in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG5
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: The smooth, shining yellow shell is usually weakly rayed with green. The beak region is often reddish or brown. It is thick, elongated and somewhat inflated. The anterior end is rounded and the posterior end is pointed. The dorsal and ventral margins are straight and nearly parallel. Lateral teeth are long, roughened and nearly straight. Pseudocardinal teeth somewhat compressed and serrated. Nacre is white and may be tinged with salmon color, iridescent posteriorly. The female is more rounded and inflated than the male, and has an orange stripe on inner surface. Length up to 6 inches (150 mm) long. In contrast to L.t.anodontoides, the young are yellowish with few rays.

Habitat: Inhabits large, swift rivers with a sandy bottom and in water a meter or more in depth.

State Distribution: Occurs in the Mississippi, Namekagon, and lower Wisconsin Rivers.

Phenology: Yellow sandshells are winter breeders. Glochidia of this subspecies has been found on long-nosed gar (Lepisosteus osseus),blue-spotted sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus), orange-spotted sunfish (L. humilis), large-mouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), white crappie (Pomoxis annularis), and black crappie (P. sparoides).

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



Yellow & Slough Sandshells

Photo ©  Illinois Natural History Survey.

Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Yellow & Slough Sandshells. Only natural communities for which Yellow & Slough Sandshells is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Natural community Score

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Yellow & Slough Sandshells. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Yellow & Slough Sandshells occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.

Ecological landscape score

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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Thursday, October 08, 2020