GTM researchers found this rare burrowing mussel on an oyster reef. It’s commonly known as mahogany date mussel, Lithophaga bisulcata. The fossil record dating back to the Paleozoic indicates that mussels in the genus Lithophaga have long been associated with reef building corals (Scott 1988b). The mahogany date mussel attaches to the substrate and its congeners with bissal threads forming dense beds that can support rich epifaunal (aquatic animals, such as starfish, flounder, or barnacles, that live on the surface of a sea or lake bottom or on the surface of a submerged substrate, such as rocks or aquatic plants and animals, but do not burrow into or beneath the surface) and infaunal (aquatic animals, such as clams or burrowing worms, that live beneath the surface of a sea or lake floor) invertebrate assemblages (Ruppert and Barnes 1994).

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Weird Animal Wednesday! You can discover your own weird animal at one of our seining events. Visit our events calendar here for dates and descriptions.