Freshwater Fish - Species

Eastern lampmussel -  Click to enlarge photo

Species Specific Regulations

Eastern lampmussel

Freshwater Fishing License required.

Species Limits, Possession, Size

Complete fishing regulations

Eastern lampmussel (Lampsilis radiate)

Description: (Anatomy of a Shellfish)
Shell shape is subelliptical to subovate in outline, shell valves are thick and solid, shell valves vary from hardly inflated to quite inflated, shell length is often greater than 120 mm. Interdentum is lacking. Periostracum is yellowish or brownish green with dark green or black rays over the entire surface, rays are not well defined. Nacre color is white, may be tinged with pink or salmon or may be completely pink or salmon.

Range: The Eastern Lampmussel is found in the Pee Dee, and Cooper-Santee River basins.

Average Length:  120 mm

Life Expectancy:  Approximately 1-7 years

Preferred Habitat

Mussels were historically abundant in most permanent rivers and streams in North America. Sometimes, mussels can be found in temporary bodies of water such as sloughs and oxbow lakes, that occasionally receive water from rivers during flood events. Mussels are not usually found in streams that experience frequent drying or dry periods of long duration. 

Food Habits

  • Eastern lampmussel are filter feeders that remove particles from the water. 
  • They feed primarily on phytoplankton (algae), which they filter from the sandy or muddy bottom of streams, lakes, or canals.
  • Several studies have shown that they can improve water quality by reducing quantities of excessive algae and nutrients.


  • In most species of freshwater mussels, the sexes are separate. Males release sperm into the water column, and females take in the sperm when filtering the water.
  • Fertilization occurs internally, and the female mussel remains gravid, anywhere from several weeks to several months.
  • Most species of larval mussels, called glochidia, must undergo a parasitic stage in which they attach to the gills or fins of a fish in order to complete development. Some mussel species can use a variety of different fish species as hosts, while others are limited to one or very few fish species.
  • In order to increase their chances of finding a suitable host, many female mussels grow an extension of the mantle flap that looks like a small fish, crayfish, insect, or worm to attract a predatory fish host. When the fish attacks, the female releases her glochidia at just the right time.

Literature Cited

US Geological Survey. NAS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species

Bogan, A. E., J. Alderman, and J. Price. 2008. Field guide to the freshwater mussels of South Carolina. (Adobe PDF - 2MB) South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Columbia. 43 pages