This week’s invasive species is the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha). Zebra mussels can filter up to one litre of water per day, making the water they are submerged in quite clear.
Native to: Eurasia
Look alikes: Quagga mussels, another invasive invertebrate species
Identifying Features: This invertebrate species is generally 2-2.5cm long, with brown and black zig-zags on its shell. Zebra mussels are more triangular in shape than their look alike quagga mussels, which are more round in shape. They are a very adaptable species that can survive in a variety of conditions.
Why it’s problematic: Since zebra mussels are water filterers, they remove many things from the water, including food sources like plankton. This is a problem because it alters food webs and leaves many species with nothing to feed on. In addition to this, they are harmful to humans as they are very sharp and can easily slice through skin if stepped on.
This concludes our feature on invasive species. We hope you have enjoyed learning how to identify the most common invasive species in your area and why they are problematic!