Wanted Zebra Mussel

Dreissena polymorpha

Physical Description

The Zebra Mussel is white with dark, zig-zagging stripes on its shell.

Growth can range from 1 cm - 5 cm.


The mussel's habitat originally began in the Caspian and Black Sea, but has accidentally spread to numerous countries worldwide, including the United States.

Freshwater lakes and rivers are ideal locations for the zebra mussel.


Zebra mussels colonize in non-native areas, cause damage to ships, boats, harbors, and water treatment plants. The larvae stick to water treatment pipes, eventually clogging them.

Certain fish and other aquatic populations also are negatively affected due to the growing zebra mussel population.

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Since zebra mussel larva feeds entirely off phytoplankton, the phytoplankton population levels are being kept at a minimum to lower the mussel reproduction.

TFM - a poisonous chemical - is released which kills mussels but has no effect on fish.

Boaters inspect their aquatic equipment for suspected mussels and dry them in the sun before every trip.

Native Home

The Caspian and Black Sea, along with rivers and streams throughout southern Russia.
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Last Spotted

The map below shows the invasion of zebra mussels over a span of only 10 years.
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Future whereabouts

The zebra mussel has a tremendous potential to spread westward in the United States. Zebra mussels can survive in harsh conditions; even on land for 10 days.

As of 2012, the species has already infected the Missouri River and will most likely continue westward until it reaches the west coast.

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