Freshwater pearl mussels guide
The rare freshwater pearl mussel can play a large role in restoring water quality in our rivers.
There are few parasites that quicken the pulse of conservationists, and fewer still that are highlighted as flagship species, but that is the fate of the freshwater pearl mussel on English and Welsh rivers and streams.
What are freshwater pearl mussel?
The freshwater pearl mussel is a mollusc, who as adults sit on the river bed
Why are freshwater pearl mussels important?
When adults freshwater pearl mussels filter our rivers through their gills, improving water quality for other species, like eels and otters.
Freshwater pearl mussel life cycle
This is in part because of their extraordinary life-cycle: vast numbers of tiny larvae, known as glochidia, are released by the mature female into the stream. They must then be inhaled by young salmon or trout and fix onto their gills - this is the parasitic stage - where a cyst forms and they spend about nine months in this rich, oxygenated environment before dropping off into the river gravels and beginning their journey to adulthood.
Article source: https://www.discoverwildlife.com/animal-facts/insects-invertebrates/freshwater-pearl-mussel-facts-lifecycle/