Save Devon’s mus­sels

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

THE fresh­wa­ter pearl mus­sel isn’t the pret­ti­est crea­ture, but it’s im­por­tant for river health, as it fil­ters bac­te­ria and al­gae, which helps to clean the water. The Devon Wildlife Trust needs to raise £9,000 for its project to breed them in cap­tiv­ity. The lo­cal pop­u­la­tion has de­clined due to pol­lu­tion—they’re now only found on the Tor­ridge and Taw and some of those are 50 years old— but the trust has re­ported the first signs of suc­cess­ful breed­ing for five decades.

Mus­sel lar­vae live on the gills of salmon or trout, which are be­ing kept in a hatch­ery; when the lar­vae are big enough, they will drop off the fish and grow to be­come ju­ve­nile mus­sels, af­ter which they will be trans­ferred to the Tor­ridge riverbed. How­ever, even in an un­pol­luted river, only about five out of five mil­lion lar­vae will sur­vive to be­come an adult fresh­wa­ter pearl mus­sel. To do­nate to the project, visit www.de­von­wildlifetrust.org

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