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Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha)


Zebra mussels are highly adaptable and can survive in lakes with a wide range of environmental conditions.Zebra mussels can impact aquatic ecosystems in a variety of ways. Their greatest impact arises from their filter-feeding activity. Since zebra mussels filter-feed large quantities of plankton, they can reduce the amount of food available for fish and other aquatic species. Large quantities of zebra mussels feeding on phytoplankton cause clearer water, allowing sunlight to penetrate deeper. This forces light sensitive fish, such as walleye, into deeper and darker waters. Increased light penetration also encourages the growth of aquatic vegetation, including invasive plants such as Eurasian watermilfoil. Zebra mussels avoid eating certain types of plankton. This can cause increasing occurrences of toxic algal blooms that, in turn, impact fish and wildlife. By filtering water, zebra mussels also accumulate suspended contaminants in their bodies. Scientists are concerned that the health of fish and birds that eat zebra mussels will be negatively affected by these contaminants

If you find Zebra Mussels:

  • Report sightings of zebra mussels to the INVADING SPECIES HOTLINE at 1-800-563-7711 or online at They will confirm whether or not it is zebra mussels.
  • Report the occurrence of this invasive species to your municipality as well. Municipal staff need to be aware of issues, including the existence of zebra mussels, that may impact the environment.

More information:

Go to the Ministry of Natural Resources website for more detailed information on this invasive species.