Lamellidens marginalis (Molluska Bivalvia Eulamellibranchiata) is an important member of the freshwater ecosystem of India, which is sustained by filtering phytoplankton, bacteria and other particulate organic matter from the available water. Hemocytes, the circulating blood cells of bivalves, function as immunological effector cells under exposure to toxins and/or parasites. The hemocytes of Lamellidens marginalis have been identified morphologically and enumerated as being qualified for use as a biomarker to analyze the threat of freshwater contamination by sublethal concentrations of sodium arsenite, a natural pollutant of freshwater ecosystems. Diverse subpopulations of hemocytes were identified as blast-like cells, granulocytes, agranulocytes, hyalinocytes and asterocytes. Supression in the total count of hemocytes and blast-like cells was recorded under the exposure of all the concentrations of sodium arsenite tested. Sodium arsenite elevated the relative density of granulocytes, hyalinocytes, and asterocytes. Partial restoration of the total count of the hemocytes was recorded after the post-treated animals were maintained in arsenic-free water for periods of 15 and 30 days. The data predict a shift in the immunological parameters of this bivalve in arsenic contaminated environments. The present study is aimed at quantifying the arsenic induced stress in Lamellidens marginalis and establishing the hemocyte density as a biomarker of aquatic pollution in selected geographical regions of India. © 2008 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.