The eastern floater has a thin, oval-shaped shell. The outermost layer of the shell is light to dark green, with concentric light and dark bands and dark green rays. The dorsal wing of the shell has no hinge teeth.


The eastern floater feeds primarily on algae. They filter algae from the sandy or muddy bottom of streams and lakes, cleaning the water of sediment as they feed.


Mussels are eaten by fish, mammals, geese and ducks.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Males release sperm into the water column. Females take in the sperm when filtering the water to feed. Females release larval stage mussels, known as glochidia, into the water. Glochidia attach themselves to the gills or fins of fish in order to be transported to other parts of a river or lake. Reported fish hosts for the eastern floater include the common carp, bluegill, pumpkinseed, yellow perch, white sucker, rock bass, and the three­spine stickleback. This wide variety of host fish increases the eastern floater's chances of survival.

Did You Know?

  • Mussels are filter feeders that help clean our rivers and streams.

  • The eastern floater is one of a handful of mussels native to the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Sources and Additional Information