What Should You Know about Zebra Mussels?

The zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) is native to parts of Asia and was first spotted in Lake St. Clair, Michigan, in 2002. Since then, the species has spread slowly across the country and is now widespread in the Great Lakes. But how did we get here? Zebra mussels are a boon to those of us who like to fish because they reproduce quickly, are hardy, and will eat other fish. Adding zebra mussels to a lake can also improve water quality since they eat algae. But they are also a major headache for Great Lakes management agencies because of the damage they can inflict on ecosystems.

Zebra mussels have turned up in many places across the country, including the Great Lakes. These tiny freshwater mussels are invasive, which means they were introduced to a new area on purpose. This practice of introducing non-native species to new areas is called “bio-warfare.” Once an invasive species is introduced, it can have devastating impacts on the native species and ecosystem.

The zebra mussel was accidentally introduced to the Great Lakes region in 1981. Since then, the invasive species has wreaked havoc on the ecosystem and is now found in 11 states — nearly 90% of the United States’ 48.4 million acres of freshwater lakes. Zebra mussels are voracious predators, feeding on plankton, algae, and other microscopic creatures in the lakes. These microscopic organisms are vital to Lake Huron’s ecosystem, as they provide food for fish, birds, and other lifeforms.

Each year, almost 2 million zebra mussels are documented as invading new waterways in North America, and stopping their spread requires constant vigilance. These tiny, fingernail-sized mollusks have spread from Canada to Hawaii and have proliferated in the Great Lakes. These mussels can attach to most hard surfaces and can reproduce through both sexual and asexual means, and they are especially prolific in warm water and areas with flowing water. If you find one, don’t touch it. The mussel’s pinchers can release an anticoagulant that stops your blood from clotting.

They’re one of the most invasive species

Zebra mussels, also known as zebra dreissenid mussels, zebra mussels are native to the Black and Caspian Seas and were first discovered in Lake St. Clair in Michigan in 2002. They were subsequently discovered in Lakes Erie and Ontario, and Minnesota in 2006. Today, zebra mussels are invasive species and can be found in 33 states and three Canadian provinces.

Zebra mussels are the most invasive species in the United States. These tiny invaders were first discovered in Lake St. Clair in Michigan in 1988. Since then, the mussels have been spread to 31 states, including Texas. Thankfully, many species of wildlife, from birds and fish to reptiles and amphibians, are able to resist these mussels, making them harmless to most native wildlife.

Zebra mussels are one of the most invasive species. Although native to Eurasia, Zebra Mussels were introduced to North America in the 1990s and quickly spread to over 100 water bodies in the North American Great Lakes Basin. These mussels are microscopic and can only be seen using a microscope. Although Zebra Mussels live as dormant or dormant adults, they release millions of eggs into the water when disturbed by human activity (ex., boat motors or wave action). Once released, these eggs can attach to hard surfaces, where larvae hatch.

They can be found in almost every kind of hard surface .

Zebra mussels, the infamous invasive species, are tiny freshwater creatures native to Eurasia. Once released into waters in the U.S., this invasive species spread throughout the Ohio River and the Great Lakes. These animals continue to infect freshwater bodies with diseases that affect native animal populations. Zebra mussels have been present for decades in Minnesota but have only recently begun to show up in Lake Minnetonka.

Zebra mussels are tiny freshwater mussels that were introduced to the United States via the ornamental plant industry. These days, however, these tiny invaders can be found on almost every kind of hard surface, from man-made to natural. Not only will you find zebra mussels in the lakes and rivers throughout most of the United States, but you may also find these in reservoirs, ponds, and even clogged drains.

If you’ve lived in the Great Lakes region or visited the area on vacation, you’ve likely come into contact with zebra mussels. These small, freshwater mussels can grow in massive numbers, clogging boat engines and pipes and spreading disease, including to species that live right in the watershed. Unfortunately, water hyacinth and water lettuce are these plants’ only natural predators, and zebra mussels have taken them over. The zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), native to the Danube River in central Europe, was accidentally introduced to the Great Lakes in 1958, most likely in ballast water, and is currently present in all the Great Lakes and major waterways. It can be found everywhere, from Lake St. Clair to Lake Champlain and into the Atlantic Ocean.