8 mussel species receive protection in Ala., Fla.


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Eight species of freshwater mussels in south Alabama and northwest Florida are now protected by the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it has granted endangered species status for the Alabama pearlshell, Choctaw bean, fuzzy pigtoe, narrow pigtoe, round ebonyshell, southern kidneyshell, southern sandshell, and tapered pigtoe. They are found in waterways in the Alabama counties of Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Monroe and Pike counties. They are found in the Florida counties of Bay, Escambia, Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington.

A conservation biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, Tierra Curry, said mussels are an integral part of the natural and cultural heritage of the Southeast, and it's exciting to see the species get protection.

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