Eastern PearlshellThe Eastern Pearlshell is the only freshwater mussel in the family Margaritiferidae found in Vermont. Individuals can live to well over a century.

Key Characteristics

Conservation Status


Found in cold streams that support trout populations with firm sandy bottoms, often among gravel, cobble or small boulders. Sometimes found tucked among tightly packed cobble and gravel. Clean gravel and sand (no siltation) is essential, particularly for juveniles.

Host Species

Salmonids, including Atlantic Salmon, Rainbow, Brook and Brown trout.

More information


Found in the Upper Winooski River and Lewis Creek watershed in the Lake Champlain basin as well as the Passumpsic, West, and Nulhegan rivers in the Connecticut River basin. Not found in lakes or ponds.

Eastern Pearlshell map 850Distribution 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.