Northern Riffleshell, female, close up (watercolour) SOLD

9 April finds me finishing my female Epioblasma torulosa, delighting in its ripply, knobby shell. The flared and eroded front edge is the end that the foot is thrust out of, for adjusting the animal's position in the gravelly river bottom. The narrowed curve of the rear or posterior end of the shell is where its inflowing and outflowing siphons are visible when the shells are gaped slightly into the water current for breathing, feeding, and reproduction. The illustrator Gina Mikel has done a nice anatomical drawing of a fresh water mussel.

Epioblasma males and females are dimorphic in shell shape, the female being more bulging at the posterior end and with a narrower curve. This allows room for her mantle to swell with little larval clams or gloccidia, ready to be released to attach to fish. Its host fish are recently thought to be Darters.

Now I have three more clam drawings to finish in watercolour.


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