Zebra Mussels- A Growing Hazard

zebra mussels

Zebra mussels, also known as Dreissena polymorpha, are a small freshwater mollusk. Zebra mussels live in shallow freshwater like lakes and rivers. They have been a problem for people and other sea life for many years.

They get their name from the striped pattern on their shells. Their shells are D-shaped with yellow and brownish colored stripes. Zebra mussels on average are about fingernail size. They attach to solid surfaces in water. They live in still or slow-moving freshwater about 2 to 12 meters deep. They are mostly found in rivers and lakes.

Zebra mussels were discovered in the Great Lake about 1988.  On average they create 100,000-500,000 eggs per year and are easily multiplied. They are filter feeders and filter their food from water. They eat single- cell organisms. Young zebra mussels are prey to native fish, birds, and other animals. Adult zebra mussels can’t be eaten because most predators can’t crush their shells. This is why their population is easily grown and is such a big problem.

They have been a big issue over the years for humans and for other sea life. They are easily spread by water currents. Mussels may attach to motors and possibly clog cooling water areas. They can always attach to boats, nets, docks, swim platforms, boat lifts, and can be moved on any of these objects. There are chemicals to kill zebra mussels but everything in the water would have to be killed as well. They severely effect native mussels and clams and can attach to other aquatic plants. They cause many problems.

Zebra mussels have only been known of for about forty years, yet have become a big problem. Although researchers have tried to find ways to get rid of them, they have not yet succeeded. And yet the population of zebra mussels is still growing.


-Are zebra mussels effecting places overseas?

-What happens to lakes that are infested with zebra mussels?

-How are wildlife management officers stopping the spread of zebra mussels?

4 thoughts on “Zebra Mussels- A Growing Hazard

  1. Zebra mussels have become a huge problem especially in areas with many lakes. These mussels are a big problem in those areas because the people that live here often go from lake to lake and zebra mussels can easily attach to boats and boat lifts and spread.The spreading of these mussels needs to stop because if they keep spreading at this speed, then all of the lakes will be infected. When lakes become infected the mussels eat all of the algae and harm the organisms already in the lake by taking their habitats away. They also harm us. These mussels can get inside of boat motors and they might overhead and explode. They also can get so over populated that they will move onto the beaches. The mussels are very sharp and can be harmful for unprotected feet. http://www.protectyourwaters.net/hitchhikers/mollusks_zebra_mussel.php

  2. I found this blog to be very informing about zebra mussels. It is very unfortunate the problems that they cause to any lake goer. They are one of the most common invasive species in our area. Every person who uses lakes is now urged to clean their boats off before moving on to other lakes. It is crazy to think they can reproduce that much in one year. They are almost unstoppable and without every ones cooperation these animals will take over our waterways.


  3. I Agree with Jenna, Zebra Mussels have become a huge problem, but not just in lakes area. Zebra mussels have even been reported s far south as Louisiana. The zebra mussel problem has gotten completely out of hand. The most that the DNR can do is to protect the lakes that haven’t been infected by this invasive species. The DNR haven devised a efficient way to cleanse lakes of Zebra Muscles so all we can do now is be careful. We all got to do our part to protect our lakes.


  4. Zebra mussels have become huge problems in the last 10-20 years. They spread mainly from the great lakes to down the Mississippi river. They have already infested and contaminated many of the 10,000 lakes in the state of Minnesota. This is a problem that needs to be stopped before they destroy all of the habitat in bodies of fresh water and saltwater. They were first discovered in the Duluth/Superior Harbor in about 1989. It is very interesting to read about how scientists try to develop a chemical as a solution to these zebra mussels. The problem is that it can potentially harm the other wildlife and kill all the fish. All in all, we need to find a fix to this issue fast, so that we can still enjoy swimming in our great waters of nature without being harmed by these creatures.


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