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Monkeyface (Quadrula metanevra)



Monkeyface (Quadrula metanevra), a mussel listed as Threatened, is found in the western part of the state in swift, clean water in larger rivers in gravel or mixed sand and gravel. Three common host fishes have been reported: bluegill, green sunfish, and sauger.

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 Monkeyface (Quadrula metanevra). 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 Quadrula metanevra in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusTHR
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG4
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: Shell is heavy and brown with numerous postules on the anterior and behind the beak. The beak is high, inflated and directed forward with small irregular ridges on the posterior part extending into 3-5 large knobs on the posterior ridge. The outer surface often has dark green streaks and zigzag, triangular, or chevron-shaped green markings. Lateral teeth are straight and short and the pseudocardinal teeth are massive. The beak cavity is deep and the nacre is white. Length to 4 inches (10.2 cm).

Habitat: Inhabits medium to large rivers in gravel or mixed sand and gravel.

State Distribution: Occurs in the Chippewa, Mississippi, lower Wisconsin, Rock, Branch, and St.Croix Rivers.

Phenology: Sauger (Stizostedion canadense) bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) and green sunfish (L. cyanellis) are host fish. Glochidia are shed in June or July.

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. The development of fish runways to facilitate the movement of host species through or around locks and dams would also help to protect this species.




Photo ©  Illinois Natural History Survey.

Last revised: Tuesday, February 19, 2019