One of these following facts about Zebra Mussels will probably open up your mind and knowledge of how great this animal is. Zebra Mussel(s) is a small freshwater mussel. This species was originally native to the lakes of southern Russia being first described in 1769 by a German zoologist Peter Simon Pallas in the Ural, Volga and Dnieper rivers. They are still found nearby, as Pontic (Black Sea) and Caspian (Caspian Sea) species. However, it has been accidentally introduced in many other areas, and has become an invasive species in many different countries worldwide. To get to know more about this animal, here are some other facts about Zebra Mussels you may like.
Facts about Zebra Mussels 1: Name
Zebra mussels get their name from a striped pattern which is commonly seen on their shells, though it is not universally present.
Facts about Zebra Mussels 2: Size and Shape
They are usually about the size of a fingernail, but can grow to a maximum length of nearly 2 in (5.1 cm). Shells are D-shaped, and attached to the substrate with strong byssal threads, which come out of their umbo on the dorsal (hinged) side.
Facts about Zebra Mussels 3: Life Cycle
The life span of a zebra mussel is four to five years. A female zebra mussel begins to reproduce within 6–7 weeks of settling. The annual reproductive cycle of the freshwater mussel Dreissena polymorpha Pallas in lakes.
Facts about Zebra Mussels 4: Predators
Research on natural enemies, both in Europe and North America, has focused on predators, particularly birds (36 species) and fish (15 and 38 species eating veligers and attached mussels.
Facts about Zebra Mussels 5: Habitat
From their first appearance in American waters in 1988, zebra mussels have spread to a large number of waterways, including Lake Simcoe in the Great Lakes region and the Mississippi, Hudson, St. Lawrence, Ohio, Cumberland, Missouri, Tennessee, Michigan, Colorado and Arkansas Rivers.
Facts about Zebra Mussels 6: Effects of Zebra Mussels
Zebra mussels are filter feeders. When in the water, they open their shells to admit detritus. As their shells are very sharp, they are known for cutting people’s feet, resulting in the need to wear water shoes wherever they are prevalent.
Facts about Zebra Mussels 7: Dead Avian Botulism
Zebra mussels are believed to be the source of deadly avian botulism poisoning that has killed tens of thousands of birds in the Great Lakes since the late 1990s. Because they are so efficient at filtering water, they tend to accumulate pollutants and toxins.
Facts about Zebra Mussels 8: Extinction
They are also responsible for the near extinction of many species in the Great Lake system by out-competing native species for food and by growing on top of and suffocating the native clams and mussels.
Facts about Zebra Mussels 9: Cleansing
However, zebra mussels and other non-native species are credited with the increased population and size of smallmouth bass in Lake Erie and yellow perch in Lake St. Clair. They cleanse the waters of inland lakes, resulting in increased sunlight penetration and growth of native algae at greater depths.
Facts about Zebra Mussels 10: Removed Mussels
Anglian Water has estimated that it costs £500,000 to remove the mussels from their treatment plants. It has been argued that Zebra Mussels also have had an effect on fish populations, with dwindling fish populations in areas such as Salford Quays.
Hope you found these Zebra Mussels facts really interesting and useful for your knowledge and research.