Ligumia recta
Black sandshell

Key Characteristics

The black sandshell is a large mussel (to 9 inches), with a smooth, elongate shell ranging in color from dark green or brown to black. Green rays are sometimes visible. This species has a low, broad beak, pointed posterior and rounded anterior ends, straight dorsal margin and ventral margin straight to moderately curved. The nacre is whitish-pink to purple.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: E
  • State Rank: S1?
  • Global Rank: G4G5

Occurrences

County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Allegan1
Arenac11932
Barry12010
Bay31926
Benzie12000
Berrien21930
Clare11949
Clinton12010
Dickinson31996
Huron11951
Ionia22011
Iosco1
Jackson12010
Kent52011
Lenawee21929
Livingston32007
Luce12007
Mackinac11942
Macomb52011
Mecosta21934
Menominee62011
Midland12011
Monroe41984
Muskegon21936
Newaygo21934
Oakland32004
Osceola31949
Ottawa2
Roscommon11934
Saginaw22008
St. Clair32011
Tuscola21984
Washtenaw32007
Wayne51932
Distribution map for Ligumia recta

Updated 1/31/2017. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.

Habitat

The black sandshell most commonly occupies rivers with strong currents and lakes with a firm substrate of gravel or sand (Watters et al. 2009).

Natural Community Types

Methodology

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Feel free to send questions and comments to Brad Slaughter at slaugh14@msu.edu.

Management

Maintaining healthy populations of black sandshell's host fish species and open water conditions to facilitate their movement, will benefit this species. As all unionid species are vulnerable to pollutants and heavy metals, reducing point and non-point source water pollution is a priority. Black sandshell in particular has shown extreme sensitivity to copper and cadmium (Pip 1995), which is commonly introduced to aquatic systems through pesticide/herbicide applications, industrial waste, urban runoff, and mine drainage (Grabarkiewicz and Davis 2008). Alteration of habitat through river impoundment, dredging, bridge construction, and dam removal pose a threat to all native mussels, and monitoring and mitigation measures should be planned for prior to such activities taking place. Efforts to control the spread of zebra mussels, such as cleaning boat hulls, trailers, and scuba and fishing gear before traveling between bodies of water, are necessary for the conservation of this species.

Active Period

Gravid from first week of August to fourth week of July

Survey Methods

Visual and tactile search using scuba or glass-bottom buckets. Tactile search (by hand) is especially important where water turbidity and pebbles/rocks make visual detection difficult. After identification, live mussels should be planted back into the substrate anterior end down. Surveys should not take place after heavy rains or during periods of high water as these conditions can make detection much more difficult.  Methods of documenting survey effort include: searching a large measured area, e.g. 128m2; taking multiple quadrat samples; and recording search time (person hours).  For all methods, at least some excavation of substrate (by hand, 5-10cm down) should be done to detect buried mussels.  Searching a large measured area or timed searches are generally better for detecting rare species and generating a species list than quadrat sampling.  These two methods allow more types of microhabitats and a larger area to be covered.  Quadrat sampling is better suited for documenting changes in density and other statistical analyses at the site level (Strayer and Smith 2003).

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Mar 25, 2017]

References

Survey References

Technical References