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Dreissena polymorpha
Image courtesy of the United States Geological Survey
Dreissena polymorpha
Taxonomic Group: Mollusks-Bivalves
Common name: ZEBRA MUSSEL


Dreissena polymorpha is commonly known as the Zebra Mussel. It was first collected from the Caspian Sea in 1769 and its native region is believed to be the Caspian and Aral Seas, and low-salinity lagoons of the Black Sea and adjacent rivers. It has established introduced populations throughout North America and Europe. In North America, it was first reported from the Great Lakes in 1986 and has since spread to many lakes and rivers throughout the continent. It has been listed by the Invasive Species Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as one of the '100 worst invasive species.' In North America it has become the ‘poster child’ of aquatic invasive species because of its wide-ranging economic and ecological impacts. It can quickly form large biomasses of individuals which can have drastic economic and ecological effects. In some cases it fouls natural gas wells, power plants, waterworks, boats and docks, causing substantial costs in cleaning and removal. Ecological impacts include altering food webs and decreasing the abundance and/or diversity of other macrobenthic species.

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Fofonoff PW, Ruiz GM, Steves B, Simkanin C, & Carlton JT (2018)
National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System.
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Marine Invasions Lab
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

P.O. Box 28
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Edgewater, MD 21037-0028 Tel: 443 482 2200
Fax: 443 482 2380

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