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?