Tag Archives: Kentucky

Orbexilum stipulatum (Torr. & A. Gray) Rydb.

Falls-of-the-Ohio Snakeroot (Orbexilum stipulatum)

The Falls-of-the-Ohio Snakeroot, also known as Largestipule Leather-root, was restricted to Rock Island (or Rocky Island) in the so-called Falls of the Ohio, an area of rapids and rocky limestone outcrops in the Ohio River in Kentucky, USA.

The type locality was flooded in the 1920s by the creation of Dam No. 41 (known today as McAlpine Locks and Dam), thus, this species is now clearly extinct.


The photo below shows a congeneric species, Sampson’s Snakeroot (Orbexilum pedunculatum (P. Miller) Rydberg), photographed in Kentucky, USA.


Sampson’s Snakeroot (Orbexilum pedunculatum)

Photo: biomania


edited: 22.01.2024

Epioblasma haysiana (Lea)

Acornshell (Epioblasma haysiana)

The Acornshell aka. Acorn Pearly Mussel was described in 1834; this species inhabited the drainages of the Cumberland- and the Tennessee Rivers in Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, USA.

The species died out due to habitat destruction and pollution; the last known individuals died in the 1970s due to exposure to domestic sewage.


Photo from: ‘Paolo G. Albano; Barbara Bongiovanni; Pamela D’Occhio; Bruno Sabelli: Natural history museums as repositories of endangered diversity: the case of the United States Unionida in the Museo di Zoologia dell’Università di Bologna. Zoosystematics and Evolution 90(2): 105-111. 2014’



edited: 17.08.2022

Epioblasma lewisii (Walker)

Lewis’ Pearly Mussel (Epioblasma lewisii)

Lewis’ Pearly Mussel, also known as Forkshell, was once widespread over a large area in the Cumberland and Tennessee River systems. 

The species is only known from empty shells, with the exception of a single specimen with preserved soft parts. 

The larvae of the vast majority of the freshwater mussel species live parasitically in the gills of various river fish. However, nothing is usually known about the symbiotic relationships of the extinct species.


syn. Dysnomia lewisi Walker, Plagiola lewisi (Walker), Truncilla lewisi (Walker)


Photo: ‘Bryant Walker: Description of a new species of Truncatilla. The Nautilus 24: 42-44. 1910’

(not in copyright)


edited: 01.03.2024

Conuropsis carolinensis ssp. carolinensis (L.)

Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis ssp. carolinensis)

The Carolina Parakeet was one of only two parrot species that are truly native to the USA (the other one is the Thick-billed Parakeet (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha (Swainson)) which, however, is now extinct there and only survives in northern Mexico).

The Chickasaw people named the bird ‘kelinky’, the Seminoles again named it ‘pot pot chee’ or ‘puzzi la née’.

The species had a very wide distributional area in the southern USA, where it inhabited old-growth wetland forests along rivers and swamps. The parakeets had a preference for the seeds of the Rough Cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium L.) (see lso depiction below), a plant that contains toxic glucoside, making the flesh of the birds poisonous to predators (the American naturalist and painter John J. Audubon noted that cats apparently died from eating them).


The Carolina Parakeet was considered a crop pest and birds were shot by the thousands. Some also ended in the feather trade, in which it apparently was especially popular to dye the originally very colorful birds completely black – such blackened specimens are still kept in several museums.

The last known Carolina Parakeet, a male named Incas, died in the Zoo of Cincinnati, Ohio at February 21, 1918. Yet, in the wild the species apparently survived for several years longer, this can be assumed from eggs that are kept in a museum and that had been collected in Florida in the year 1927.


The Carolina Parakeet wasn’t particularly popular in the aviculture, especially because of its loud, harsh voice, however, the ornithologist Hans Freiherr von Berlepsch at the end of he 19th century kept a free-flying population in Germany which, being well-adapted to the European climate was thriving very well. This little population, that could have been the lifeline for the whole species, however, was shot by the innkeeper of a little pub in a neighboring village within only two days.


edited: 20.01.2020