Freshwater Mussels in the Nova Scotia Museum Collection (Curatorial Report # 8)


  • Ursula Grigg


Mussels, Mollusks, Collections


Freshwater mussels are large bivalve molluscs, sametimes seven inches long, found in the ponds, lakes, streams and rivers of Nova Scotia, different species being characteristic of different habitats. They remain buried in the bottom with their posterior ends projecting, and are usually collected as dead shells from strand lines and muskrat houses, though same are found alive by swimmers.

The freshwater mussel collection of the Nova Scotia Museum consists mostly of dry shells. The bulk of the collection was deposited by H. D. Athearn, who collected in the province between 1946 and 1954. His collections formed the basis of the paper by Athearn and Clarke (1962), followed by Clarke and Rick (1964); these two papers form the definitive work on Nova Scotian unionids. The last specimens to be added were collected during the systematic surveys started by the museum staff in 1969.


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