Mollusc. Zebra mussels are native to the Caspian and Black Seas . They are now established in the UK, Western Europe, Canada and the USA. They compete with zooplankton for food, thus affecting natural food webs . They also interfere with the ecological functions of native molluscs and cause great economic damage.
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in English:
Zebra Mussel, Racicznica Zmienna, Wandering Mussel
Common Names in French:
Common Names in German:
Species Dreissena polymorpha
Black or brown and white striped bivalve mollusc with byssal attachment to hard substrates. Maximum size approx. 3 cm long. Shell is highly carinate , having an angle between the ventral and dorsal surfaces. Color patterns highly polymorphic , from almost pure black to unpigmented, with a variety of striped forms.
Tolerates salinity to 6 ppt, temperatures to approx. 29 C, will not settle in currents greater than 2 m/sec.
Typically found in a lake at a mean distance from sea level of 8 meters (25 feet).
This species occurs in a range
, from freshwater
waters in rivers
, estuaries and coastal shallows of the Caspian Sea
and other large brackish
(Therriault et al.
regions, it has been found at depths of greater than
(Therriault et al. 2004). It is most abundant on hard
surfaces in calm waters upstream
of dams (Birnbaum 2006).
Due to its bio-fouling properties (especially of ship hulls and industrial intake pipes, Birnbaum 2006) this species has had strong negative economic consequences in countries to where it has spread . It also has ecosystem-level impacts , including outcompeting native taxa, slowing down eutrophication, and bio-deposition, although these seem to manifest themselves towards the beginning of an invasion (Birnbaum 2006)..
List of Habitats:
- 5 Wetlands (inland)
- 5.1 Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls )
- 5.5 Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
- 5.7 Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
- 5.14 Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes
- 5.16 Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools [more info]
Zebra mussels are dioecious and fertilize externally; larvae are
for several weeks before settling and attaching to substrateEstimated
at up to 1.5 million eggs
per female per year; survival to adult
stage may be less than 1%.
Fertilized egg hatches into trocophore (40-60 microns, 1-2 days), several stages of free-swimming planktonic veliger lasting 8-180 days (or longer in cold water ), then at 350 micron size the larvae settle as plantigrade mussels, attach to substrate as juveniles , and may mature within the first year of life under optimal conditions; maturity in the second year is more usual. Zebra mussels live 3-5 years.
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- (C. Linnaeus, 1758) Cuvier, 1795
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- H. & A. Adams, 1856
- Series: http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/title/58018" ta ()
- Order: Veneroida () - H. & A. Adams, 1856
- Superorder: Eulamellibranchia ()
- Subclass: Metabranchia ()
- Class: Bivalvia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - Bivalves
- Phylum: Mollusca () - (C. Linnaeus, 1758) Cuvier, 1795 - Molluscs
- Superphylum: Eutrochozoa ()
- Infrakingdom: Lophotrochozoa ()
- Branch: Protostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Status: Accepted Name
Last scrutiny: 17-Oct-2001
A molecular phylogenetic analysis, using 16S and COI sequence data , maintained this as a separate species distinct from other closely related ones, e.g. , D. rostriformis and D. stankovici (Therriault et al. 2004)..
Members of the genus Dreissena
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 2 species and subspecies in this genus:
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Accessed through GBIF Data Portal December 06, 2007:
- Biologiezentrum der Oberoesterreichischen Landesmuseen, Biologiezentrum Linz
- NLBIF, Limnodata
- The Swedish Museum of Natural History
- , Bugs
- The Swedish Museum of Natural History
- , Invertebrates
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 2693547
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: ITS-81339
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 13746335
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 81339
- IUCN ID: 206077
- Natural Heritage Network Species Identifier: IMBIVAE010
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 17535
- Standard Deviation = 46.000 based on 1,915 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
- Van Damme, D. 2011. Dreissena polymorpha. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 31 January 2012. [back]