Service Determines Triangle Pigtoe Does Not Warrant Endangered Species Act Protection

Published 11:26 am Monday, May 10, 2021

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Based on genetic studies and reviews of the best available science, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined the triangle pigtoe does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Today’s decision, also known as a 12-month finding, is the result of a taxonomic study indicating the East Texas mussel is not a distinct species.

In 2009, the Service determined that the triangle pigtoe may warrant listing under the ESA. However, genetic studies have determined that the triangle pigtoe is synonymous with a more widespread, common mussel called the Texas pigtoe. As such, the triangle pigtoe is not a listable entity under the ESA.

The Service’s findings include input and review from academia, state agencies, species experts and others. This conclusion has been supported by the scientific community, including the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). As of March 2020, TPWD removed the triangle pigtoe from their list of state threatened species.

The Texas pigtoe mussel is found in the Neches River basin and its tributaries in Angelina, Cherokee, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Nacogdoches, Orange, Polk, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith and Tyler counties in East Texas.

America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. We are working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species.

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