Black Sandshell is widespread across the eastern U.S. and Canada, occurring from the Great Lakes basin south into Mississippi River drainage to Louisiana and in some Gulf Coast drainages.

Key Characteristics

Conservation Status


Riffle and run areas of larger rivers in sand or gravel and lakes with sandy mud, firm sand, or gravel.  It seems to prefer areas with visible, strong currents.

Host Species

Banded killifishwhite perch, central stoneroller, redfin shinerrosyface shinerredbreast sunfishgreen sunfishlongear sunfishorangespotted sunfishpumpkinseedrock basslargemouth basswalleye and yellow perch.

More Information


The black sandshell has always been rare in Vermont and is presently known to inhabit only two streams, the Poultney River (West Haven) and Otter Creek (Ferrisburg and Vergennes). Also found in the Missisquoi River (Highgate) and Hospital Creek (Addison), in the late1970s. It is infrequently encountered in the Poultney River and Otter Creek.


Distribution map has locations where this species has been documented and digitized into the atlas database. Systematic surveys have not been conducted for many species and those surveys that have been conducted have been largely focused on endangered species. Therefore, in some cases, the actual distribution of freshwater mussels may be more extensive than what is presented here. Shaded areas are watershed sub-basins and river main stems are shown.