Dreissena polymorpha (zebra mussel)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Water Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Threatened Species
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas, 1771)
Preferred Common Name
- zebra mussel
Other Scientific Names
- Mytilus polymorpha Pallas, 1771
International Common Names
- English: wandering mussel
- French: moule zebra
Local Common Names
- Denmark: vandremusling
- Estonia: tavaline ehk muutlik rändkarp
- Finland: vaeltajasimpukka
- Germany: Dreikantmuschel; Schafklaumuschel; Wandermuschel; Zebramuschel; Zebra-Muschel
- Latvia: svitraina gliemene
- Lithuania: dreisena
- Netherlands: driehoeksmossel
- Poland: racicznica zmienna
- Sweden: vandringsmussla
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
To date, D. polymorpha has been the most aggressive freshwater invader worldwide. Dreissenids are the only freshwater bivalves that attach to hard substrates in high densities and have a planktonic larval stage. This life history facilitates their abilities as invaders, and allows them to become enormously abundant when introduced into a new water body. Once introduced their populations can grow rapidly, and the total biomass of a population can exceed 10 times that of all other native benthic invertebrates (Karatayev et al., 2002).
D. polymorpha is native to the drainage basins of the Black, Caspian and Aral Seas. During the nineteenth century its range has expanded westward to most of western Europe, the UK, and North America, where it is found in the Great Lakes and all major river drainages east of the Rocky Mountains and causes multiple economic impacts on fisheries, aquaculture, water attractions and aquatic transport.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Mollusca
- Class: Bivalvia
- Subclass: Heterodonta
- Order: Veneroida
- Unknown: Dreissenoidea
- Family: Dreissenidae
- Genus: Dreissena
- Species: Dreissena polymorpha
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
One of the most characteristic features of the shell of all Dreissenidae is the possession of an apical shell septum to which the anterior adductor and anterior byssal retractor mussels are attached. An apical septum also occurs in Septifer (Mytiloidea), although in representatives of this genus only the anterior adductor muscle has its attachment to it, the anterior byssal retractor attaching to the posterior face of the shell under the ligament. It has been suggested that the possession of a shell septum in these two bivalve phylogenies is the result of convergent evolution by adaptation to similar modes of life (Nalepa and Schloesser, 1992).
DescriptionTop of page
The prominent dark and light banding pattern on the shell is the most obvious characteristic of D. polymorpha. Its specific name, "polymorpha", derives from its many variations in shell colour, pattern and shell shape. The outer covering of the shell (the periostracum) is generally well polished, and light tan in colour with a distinct series of broad, dark, transverse colour bands which may be either smooth or zigzag in shape. Within a population, individual shell colours may range from very light coloured without discernable dark banding to those that are darkly-pigmented overall, obliterating all banding.
The shape of D. polymorpha shells is generally triagonal or triangular with sharply pointed umbos (the hinge end). Underlying the umbos, the hinge plate or myophore plate is broad and well developed with no pseudocardinal or lateral teeth. The valves are joined by a proteinaceous ligament located posterior to the umbos. The valves are quite inflated posteriorly tapering to a more flattened profile along the ventral and anterior margins; an acute ridge runs from the umbos to the posterior point of the ventral margin forming a distinctive "shoulder". The mussel attaches itself to hard surfaces by byssal threads which are secreted from a byssal gland just posterior to the foot. The byssal threads emerge from the between the valves through a byssal notch along the posterior margin. This byssal hold-fast distinguishes D. polymorpha from all other similar-sized or larger North American freshwater bivalves (McMahon, 1990).
DistributionTop of page
Zebra mussels originated from the lakes of southeast Russia and have spread along waterways or been transported by shipping to northwest Russia, central and western Europe, Scandinavia, Britain, Ireland and North America. Up to date information on the distribution in North America can be found on the Zebra Mussel and Quagga Mussel Information Resource Page published by the US Geological Survey.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Mediterranean and Black Sea||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||ISSG, 2008||Native range includes the Black, Caspian, and Azov seas|
|Turkey||Present||Native||Invasive||ISSG, 2009; Aksu et al., 2017||First recorded in as a fouling agent in hydroelectric power plants in 1964. Detailed distribution is provided|
|Canada||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Ontario||Widespread||Introduced||1986||Invasive||Minchin et al., 2002|
|-Quebec||Widespread||1986||Invasive||Minchin et al., 2002|
|Mexico||Widespread||Introduced||1993||Invasive||Minchin et al., 2002||Dispersal has extended to the Gulf of Mexico|
|USA||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Arkansas||Present||Introduced||1994||Invasive||USGS, 2008||Mississippi River|
|-California||Present||Introduced||2008||Invasive||USGS, 2008||San Justo Reservoir|
|-Colorado||Present||Introduced||2008||Invasive||USGS, 2008||Pueblo Reservoir|
|-Illinois||Present||Introduced||1992||Invasive||USGS, 2008||Illinois River|
|-Kentucky||Present||Introduced||USGS, 2008||Mississippi River|
|-Louisiana||Present||Introduced||Invasive||USGS, 2008||Mississippi River|
|-Massachusetts||Localised||Introduced||Benson et al., 2012|
|-Michigan||Widespread||Introduced||1986||Invasive||USGS, 2008||Great Lakes|
|-Mississippi||Present||Introduced||ISSG, 2008||Mississippi River|
|-Missouri||Present||Introduced||USGS, 2008||Mississippi River|
|-Nebraska||Present||Introduced||2003||Invasive||USGS, 2008||Missouri River|
|-New York||Present||Spada et al., 2002||Onondaga Lake|
|-North Dakota||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Benson et al., 2012|
|-Ohio||Present||Introduced||Invasive||ISSG, 2008||Lake Erie (2005)|
|-South Dakota||Present||Introduced||2003||Invasive||USGS, 2008||Missouri River|
|-Tennessee||Present||Introduced||USGS, 2008||Mississippi River|
|-Texas||Localised||Introduced||Benson et al., 2012|
|-Virginia||Present||Introduced||Benson et al., 2012|
|-West Virginia||Present||Introduced||Invasive||USGS, 2008|
|Austria||Present||NOBANIS, 2008||Common and potentially invasive. First recorded 1916|
|Belarus||Widespread||Introduced||1801||Invasive||Karatayev et al., 2003; Karatayev et al., 2007||First recorded in 1929 by Ovchinnikov (1933) but it is suspected they established between 1800 and 1825|
|Belgium||Widespread||Introduced||1826||Invasive||Belgian Federal Public Service, 2008||Rivers, channels and ponds|
|Bulgaria||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Trichkova et al., 2007||First reported in the Danube River by Kreglinger (1870)|
|Croatia||Present||Lajtner et al., 2004||Draba River and Dubrava Lake|
|Czech Republic||Present||Introduced||1890||Invasive||Blažka, 1893||First recorded in Elbe (Labe)|
|Czechoslovakia (former)||Present||Strayer, 1991|
|Denmark||Widespread||Introduced||1840||Invasive||Morton, 1979||First recorded in Copenhagen|
|Estonia||Widespread||Introduced||1801||Invasive||NOBANIS, 2008||First recorded in Polula Brook, Pärnu Bay, Lake Peipsi|
|France||Present||Introduced||1847||Invasive||Kinzelbach, 1992||French freshwater systems|
|Germany||Widespread||Introduced||1830||Invasive||ISSG, 2008||Inland waterway network|
|Ireland||Widespread||Introduced||1993||Invasive||McCarthy et al., 1997||First recorded in Lough Derg, Nenagh|
|Italy||Present||Introduced||1969||Invasive||Giusti and Oppi, 1972||First recorded in Lake Garda; Torri del Benaco|
|Latvia||Widespread||Introduced||1801||Invasive||Olenin et al., 1999||Found in Riga Bay in 1996|
|Lithuania||Widespread||Introduced||1801||Invasive||Olenin, 2005||Major lakes, dams and rivers, first recorded in Curonian lagoon|
|Netherlands||Widespread||Introduced||1826||Invasive||Kearney and Morton, 1970||First recorded in the River Maas, now occurs all over The Netherlands in freshwater lakes, canals and rivers|
|Poland||Widespread||Introduced||1800||Invasive||Olenin, 2005||Mainly in the northern half of the country territory but single sites are known from the upper drainage basins of the Odra and Vistula|
|Portugal||Present||Strayer, 1991||Oporto; regarded by some as spurious|
|Romania||Present||Native||Not invasive||Son, 2007|
|Russian Federation||Present||Invasive||NOBANIS, 2008||Common. First recorded in 1990. The European part of Russia|
|Slovakia||Present||Sporka and Nagy, 1998||Danube River|
|Spain||Present||Introduced||2001||Invasive||Binimelis et al., 2007||Ebro River|
|Sweden||Present||Introduced||1920||Invasive||Jansson, 1994||Present in Swedish lakes (Mälaren, Hjälmaren, and other lakes in Uppland connected to them)|
|Switzerland||Widespread||Introduced||1960||Invasive||Binder, 1965||Geneva, Zurich and Constance|
|Ukraine||Present||Native||Not invasive||Gollasch and Leppäkoski, 1999|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
The spread of D. polymorpha from the Black Sea and Aralo-Caspian Sea basins has largely taken place in the past 200 years. How the initial expansion took place is unclear. D. polymorpha may have penetrated via the Oginskij Canal (completed in 1804) from Dnieper to the River Neman and further to the Curonian Lagoon in the southeast Baltic (Olenin, 2005), in which case the Black Sea is the probable origin. However it may have come via canals using the Volga and its tributaries and lakes Onega and Ladoga at the beginning of the eighteenth century and so originate from the Caspian region. Outside the Baltic Sea region it was found in England, in the London docks, in the 1820s (ISSG, 2008). By 1827 it was found in the mouth of the Rhine, and 1838 in the Elbe River. During the nineteenth century D. polymorpha occupied most of the inland water systems of western and central Europe: in the 1920s it appeared in Sweden (Jansson, 1994), in the 1960s it was found in alpine lakes around the Alps, and it had reached Ireland by 1993 (McCarthy et al., 1997). In 1990 it was reported from brackish water in the eastern partof the Gulf of Finland after being present for 150 years in the nearby freshwater Lake Ladoga (NOBANIS, 2008). In 1988 D. polymorpha first appeared in Lake St. Clair and it then rapidly spread throughout the Great Lakes of North America (Olenin et al., 1999). Spread beyond the Great Lakes Basin to many other parts of North America began in 1991 (Benson et al., 2012).
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
Risk of further introduction is increasing. Further range expansions are expected in fresh water and some brackish areas in temperate latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Future expansions to South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are possible due to extensive shipping trade, utilization and development of navigable routes (Olenin et al., 1999).
HabitatTop of page
Inhabits larger estuaries and inland waters, hard and soft bottom habitats (Starobogatov, 1994). The typical habitats colonised are estuaries, rivers and lakes, particularly where there are firm surfaces suitable for attachment (Olenin et al., 1999).
In marine and lacustrine environments, D. polymorpha usually inhabits littoral and sublittoral zones in localities where substrata and food are available, and ice abrasion is absent. As a rule, freshwater lakes with Dreissena are mesotrophic, have a relatively high pH, have moderate alkalinity, and have moderate amounts of dissolved mineral salts in the water (Orlova and Nalepa, 2003).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Inland saline areas||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Inland saline areas||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
|Estuaries||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Lagoons||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Intertidal zone||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Intertidal zone||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Irrigation channels||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Lakes||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Reservoirs||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Rivers / streams||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Rivers / streams||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Ponds||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Inshore marine||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Inshore marine||Principal habitat||Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
The haploid genome size of D. polymorpha is estimated to be approximately 1.70±0.1 pg (Gregory, 2003).
D. polymorpha has a karyotype with 2n=32 composed of 12 pairs of biarmed chromosomes (meta- and sub-metacentrics) and 4 pairs of uniarmed chromosomes (subtelo- and acrocentric) and the number of chromosomes arms NF equals 56 (Marsden et al., 1996; Wo Nicki and Boron, 2003; Boron et al., 2004).
D. polymorpha belongs to 10 species characterized by the highest levels of genetic variability (Boron et al., 2004). High levels of genetic variability have been reported for European populations with heterozygosity values at allozyme loci between 0.27 and 0.49 for the 3-15 polymorphic allozyme loci. Similar high levels have also been reported for North American populations: 0.30-0.50 for the 6-17 polymorphic loci (Astenei et al., 2005).
There might be a risk of hybridization between D. polymorpha and D. bugensis. D. polymorpha and D. bugensis hybrids were created by pooling gametes collected after exporsure to serotonin in the laboratory, indicating that interspecies fertilization may be feasibly (Mills et al., 1996; NOBANIS, 2008). There is evidence for species-specific sperm attractants suggesting that interspecific fertilization may be rare in nature (Spidle et al., 1995; Mills et al., 1996).
D. polymorpha have separate sexes, usually with a ratio 1:1. Females generally reproduce in their second year. Eggs are expelled by the females and fertilized outside the body by the males; this process usually occurs in the spring or summer, depending on water temperature. Over 40,000 eggs can be laid in a reproductive cycle and up to one million in a spawning season. Spawning begins at 12-15ºC, and can be profuse at 18-20ºC; and may take place over a period 3-5 months. After the eggs are fertilized, the larvae (veligers) emerge within 3 to 5 days and are free-swimming for up to a month. Dispersal of larvae is normally passive by being carried downstream with the flow. The larvae begin their juvenile stage by settling to the bottom where they crawl about on the bottom by means of a foot, searching for suitable substratum. They then attach themselves to it by means of a byssus, an organ outside the body near the foot consisting of many threads. Although the juveniles prefer a hard or rocky substrate, they have been known to attach to vegetation. As adults, they have a difficult time staying attached when water velocities exceed two meters per second. D. polymorpha are filter feeders having both inhalant and exhalant siphons. They are capable of filtering about one liter of water per day while feeding primarily on algae (Starobogatov, 1994; Olenin et al., 1999).
Physiology and Phenology
Although D. polymorpha have well defined environmental preferences, they are capable of tolerating a wide range of conditions outside the norm. They can tolerate starvation for extended periods, desiccation, extremes of high and low temperatures, and highly variable dissolved oxygen levels.
The mussels appear capable of adapting to a variety of temperature regimes, being found from Sweden to Italy. They have been found in lakes with highly variable acidity and calcium content. Large numbers have been reported growing in the static conditions of lakes and reservoirs and in the swift currents of pipes and rivers. They can be found in nutrient poor (oligotrophic) and nutrient rich (eutrophic) lakes. While normally considered as freshwater species, D. polymorpha can adapt and inhabit brackish areas. They are capable of tolerating a certain degree of pollution, although they are absent from heavily polluted waters. When presented with acute, adverse conditions, the animal will close its shell and remain closed up to 2 weeks before reopening (Claudi and Mackie, 1994).
D. polymorpha feeds by filtering microscopic plankton organisms <53 µm and organic particles from the water (Olenin et al., 1999). Higher filtration activity of D. polymorpha population coincides with the location of higher biomasses. Maximum population grazing rates can reach 65 L/h/m2, the lowest values are around 0.005 L/h/m2 (Kotta et al., 1998).
Water TolerancesTop of page
|Parameter||Minimum Value||Maximum Value||Typical Value||Status||Life Stage||Notes|
|Conductivity (µmhos/cm)||>110||Optimum||>0 tolerated|
|Depth (m b.s.l.)||2||9||Optimum||0-45 tolerated|
|Dissolved oxygen (mg/l)||8||10||Optimum|
|Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate)||30||50||Optimum||>5 tolerated|
|Salinity (part per thousand)||0.5||3.5||Optimum||0-11 tolerated|
|Water pH (pH)||7.4||8.5||Optimum|
|Water temperature (ºC temperature)||17||25||Optimum||0-32 tolerated; optimal temperature for spawning is 14-16, optimal temperature for larval development is 20-22|
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Aythya affinis||Predator||Adult||not specific|
|Aythya ferina||Predator||Adult||not specific|
|Aythya fuligula||Predator||Adult||not specific|
|Bucephala clangula||Predator||Adult||not specific|
|Bucephalus polymorphus||Parasite||Adult||not specific|
|Fulica atra||Predator||Adult||not specific|
|Neogobius melanostomus||Predator||Adult||not specific|
|Orconectes propinquus||Predator||Adult||not specific|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
According to the most recent literature review (Molloy et al., 1997), there are approximately 200 species that may be considered predators or parasites of D. polymorpha. These are birds and fishes that feed on attached mussels and larval stages, as well as copepods, coelenterates, leeches, crabs, crayfishes and rodents. Among organisms that compete with mussels for hard substrates are sponges, coelenterates, amphipods, bryozoans and other mussel species with the same life-style. Also included in the review is intra- and interspecific competition in mixed populations of Dreissenids. In Europe, the most common parasite is Bucephalus polymorphus (Plathelmintes,Trematoda). The frequency of occurrence usually does not exceed 10- 20% of the Dreissenid population (Zdun et al., 1994).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
There are many ways that D. polymorpha are able to spread from place to place. There are naturally occurring vectors of dispersal and there are human-mediated means. Human-mediated means of dispersal tend to occur on a larger scale and over a longer period of time. There is very little chance that enough D. polymorpha could be moved by a naturally occurring vector to establish a substantial population.
Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)
Larval D. polymorpha are free-swimming, microscopic, and planktonic. These factors contribute to their rapid spread from one body of water to another. Any body of water downstream of an infected area has a high probability of being infected if there is continuous water flow from the upstream area.
Vector Transmission (Biotic)
Substrates with high densities of D. polymorpha in shallow areas are the preferred foraging areas, and these mussel colonies can be located rather quickly by migrating waterfowl. Migrating waterfowl may carry larval or juvenile mussels in their feathers or on their feet, but it is highly unlikely that they disperse mussels from one waterbody to another.
Crayfish can be the site of D. polymorpha settlement. If they are moved from an infected area to an uninfected area after settlement, but prior to their molting event, it is possible that they could transport mussels.
Adult D. polymorpha will settle on and colonize submerged aquatic plants. If plants are transported from an infected lake to an uninfected body of water, it is likely that adult D. polymorpha may well be transported, too. Some possible means of unintentional transport include plants attached to boat trailers and plants in or on bait buckets or other fishing gear.
Human-mediated dispersal mechanisms (e.g., artificial waterways, ships, fishing activities, amphibious planes and recreational equipment) are the most probable means for rapid spread of the species.
Pathway CausesTop of page
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
The tendency of D. polymorpha to form dense aggregates on hard surfaces has led to serious economic impact in municipal, industrial and private water systems. When large numbers of larvae settle in man-made raw water systems they accumulate in great numbers forming thick mats which can restrict water flow even in large diameter piping, increase in the corrosion of iron or steel piping and riveting, as well as the fouling of pumps, forbays, and holding tanks, trashracks, and condenser units (Kovalak et al., 1993; Minchin et al., 2002). Illustrations and descriptions of damage to structures in the Turkish water industry are provided in Aksu et al. (2017).
Environmental ImpactTop of page Impact on Habitats
They remove particles from the water column, increasing water clarity and reducing pollution. Some particles are consumed as food, and faeces are deposited on the lake floor. Non-food particles are combined with mucus and other matter and deposited on lake floors as pseudofaeces (Minchin et al., 2002). D. polymorpha causes a decrease of oxygen concentrations from mussel respiration and elimination of phytoplankton; it cause an increase of dissolved nutrients from excretion; accumulation, biosedimantation and deposition of pollutants and trace elements and deposition of organic matter that is contained in faeces and pseudofaeces (http://www.issg.org/).Impact on Biodiversity
D. polymorpha attach to crayfish, turtle shells as well as other mussels. When a native mussel has D. polymorpha attached, the native mussel loses its ability to move, feed, breath, and breed. Eventually this will lead to the death of the native mussel. Loss of native mussel populations has increased dramatically where D. polymorpha are present, particularly in the Great Lakes and Hudson and Mississippi rivers. Dense colonization of hard substrates is beneficial to benthic invertebrates, as habitat complexity increases as does availability of organic matter. Spawning reefs of fishes such as lake trout are negatively affected by D. polymorpha colonies.
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Acipenser brevirostrum (shortnose sturgeon)||VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Connecticut; Maryland; Massachusetts; New York; Pennsylvania; Virginia||Altered food web||National Marine Fisheries Service, 1998|
|Epioblasma brevidens (Cumberlandian combshell)||CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Alabama; Kentucky; Mississippi; Tennessee; Virginia||Competition - monopolizing resources||Butler and Biggins, 2004|
|Epioblasma triquetra (snuffbox)||USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||USA||Fouling||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2012|
|Quadrula cylindrica strigillata (rough rabbitsfoot)||USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Tennessee||Ecosystem change / habitat alteration||Butler and Biggins, 2004|
|Quadrula fragosa (winged mapleleaf)||CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Minnesota||Ecosystem change / habitat alteration||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009|
|Villosa fabalis (rayed bean)||EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); National list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||USA||Fouling||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2012|
|Villosa perpurpurea (purple bean)||CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||USA||Fouling||Butler and Biggins, 2004|
Social ImpactTop of page
The occurrence of D. polymorpha in shallow areas where bathing occurs has resulted in an increase in foot lacerations with possible consequences of infection from a number of freshwater organisms that may include Leptospira interogans that causes Weil’s disease (Minchin et al., 2002).
Along shorelines, windrows of mussels destroy beaches and the decaying mussels produce an extremely foul smell (Zebra Mussel Research Program, 1993). The sharp shell of the D. polymorpha is razor-like and is a hazard to barefoot swimmers and beachcombers. This combination spoils the most pristine of locations and prohibits recreational activities.
In the past 125 years, over 100 ships have sunk in or near Thunder Bay, Lake Huron, which has created an attraction to the recreational diver. These wrecks are now host to D. polymorpha infestation (ZMIS, 2002).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Is a habitat generalist
- Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
- Long lived
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Has high genetic variability
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Increases vulnerability to invasions
- Modification of natural benthic communities
- Modification of nutrient regime
- Negatively impacts human health
- Negatively impacts livelihoods
- Negatively impacts aquaculture/fisheries
- Negatively impacts tourism
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Transportation disruption
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Pest and disease transmission
- Rapid growth
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Difficult/costly to control
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
There are two bivalves that are most likely to be confused with Dreissena polymorpha are the quagga mussel, Dreissena bugensis and the false dark mussel, Mytilopsis leucophaeta. M.leucophaeta is found in salt marsh habitats, and differs from both species of Dreissena in having a narrow myophore plate with a well-developed apophysis. Both D. bugensis and M. leucophaeta attach to various substrates using byssal attachments and grow to approximately the same maximum size as D. polymorpha.
If one examines the ventral shell margin and ventral shell edge of the mussels, differences are visible. D. polymorpha has a concave or flattened bottom and acutely angled shell margin. Both features provide additional stability for the attached mussel. If one places representatives from all three species in a flat dish, D. polymorpha will be the only one able to stay upright. Both D. bugensis and M. leucophaeta have a convex ventral edge and a round ventral or bottom margin (ZMIS, 2002).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
ReferencesTop of page
Aksu S, Yildiz D, Güngör PA, 2017. The Zebra Mussel in Turkey. Report No: 7. Ankara, Turkey: Hydropolitics Association, 40 pp. https://supolitikalaridernegiblog.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/the-zebra-mussel-in-turkey-report2.pdf
Bax N, Hayes K, Marshall A, Parry D, Thresher R, 2002. Man-made marinas as sheltered islands for alien marine organisms: Establishment and eradication of an alien invasive marine species. Turning the tide: the eradication of invasive species [ed. by Veitch, C. R. \Clout, M. N.]. Auckland: Invasive Species Specialist Group of The World Conservation Union (IUCN), 26-39. [Invasive Species Specialist Group of The World Conservation Union (IUCN) Occasional Paper 27.]
Benson AJ, Raikow D, Larson J, Fusaro A, 2012. Dreissena polymorpha. USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida, USA: United States Geological Survey. http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=5
Butler, R. S., Biggins, R. G., 2004. In: Recovery Plan for Cumberland Elktoe (Alasmidonta atropurpurea), Oyster Mussel (Epioblasma capsaeformis), Cumberlandian Combshell (Epioblasma brevidens), Purple Bean (Villosa perpurpurea), and Rough Rabbitsfoot (Quadrula cylindrica strigillata). US Fish and Wildlife Service, ix + 168 pp..
EPRI, 1993. Hazard identification of commercially available biocides to control zebra mussels and Asiatic clams. Electric Power Research Institute. [TR-103175, prepared by the Syracuse Research Corporation, Syracuse, NY.]
Gregory TR, 2003. Genome size estimates for two important freshwater molluscs, the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) and the schistosomiasis vector snail (Biomphalaria glabrata). Genome, 46(5):841-844.
Karatayev AY, Burlakova LE, Paddila DK, 2002. Impacts of zebra mussel on aquatic communities and their role as ecosystem engineers. In: Invasive aquatic species of Europe. Distribution, impacts and management [ed. by Leppäkoski E, Gollasch S, Olenin S] Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 433-446.
Karatayev AY, Burlakova LE, Padilla DK, 2007. Dreissena polymorpha in Belarus: history of spread, population biology, and ecosystem impacts. In: The zebra mussels in Europe [ed. by Velde, G. der \Rajagopal, S. \Bij Vaate, A. de]. Leiden, The Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers BV.
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OrganizationsTop of page
Lithuania: Coastal Research and Planning Institute (Lithuania), Klaipeda University, H. Manto 84, Klaipeda, LT92294, http://www.corpi.ku.lt/
Russian Federation: Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, http://www.zin.ru/
USA: NOAA: Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, 2205 Commonwealth Blvd., Ann Arbor, MI, http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/
ContributorsTop of page
26/08/08 Original text by:
Rasa Bukontaite, Klaipedos Universiteto, jaun. mokslo darbuotoja, Baltijos pajurio aplinkos, tyrimu ir planavimo, LT-92294 Klaipeda, Lithuania
Anastasija Zaiko, Klaipeda University, Coastal Research and Planning Institute, H. Manto 84, Klaipeda, LT-92294, Lithuania
Distribution MapsTop of page
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