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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Eastern Elliptio

Marine Fisheries

Eastern Elliptio

Elliptio complanata

Appearance: The shells are dark brown, almost oval in shape, averaging 2-3 inches in length. The outer surface of the shell often flakes off, revealing a rough lighter-colored shell material underneath. They are typically sold live.

Typical Range: Freshwater mussel native to U.S., ranging from the southeastern U.S. to Canada. They are commonly found in North Carolina. Elliptio prefers streams and rivers to impounded waters.

Public Health Significance: As a freshwater species this shellfish is NOT approved for harvesting for human consumption. Because their habitat is in unapproved waters, there will typically not be a shellfish dealers tag associated with the product. These shellfish have been found in a restaurant in North Carolina, reportedly via seafood markets in New York City.

As a native freshwater shellfish, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission restricts any taking of these shellfish from flowing waters.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • (252) 726-7021 or 1-800-682-2632

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