Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)



Zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)

Photo NOAA

To view NBN location data click here



  • Varied and unpredictable ecological impacts.
  • Changes to nutrient cycles, filtering out of phytoplankton, reduction of zooplankton.
  • Increased water clarity and plant growth around lake margins.
  • Attach to native mussel species that can cause their local extinction.
  • Changes to fish populations can also occur through colonisation of spawning grounds, change of habitat and food sources.
  • Has cost the US millions of dollars.
  • Blocks pipes at water works and hydro electric schemes.
  • Attaches to the hulls of boats, blocks boat engines.
  • Cutting and snagging of fishing lines and nets.
  • Introduced attached to hulls of boats or in bilge water.
  • Natural dispersal in connected waterbodies through the production of millions of microscopic larvae (veligers). These drift in water currents and settle on hard surfaces.
  • Hull fouling, bilge water and movement of colonised material from an infested site to new waterbodies.
  • Deliberate introduction to non impacted sites because of perception that zebra mussels can remove pollution.



Do not introduce into the wild. Take measures to ensure there is not transport of bilgewater between waterbodies and inspect boat hulls, trailers, outboard engines, I/O drive legs, water intakes, exhausts and trailers for infestation before moving between waterbodies.

Physical Control

None effective in the wild

Chemical Control

Non effective in the wild

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