zebra mussel
Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas)

Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha)

Zebra Mussel Map
Image by USGS

Map by USGS on HUC level record of zebra mussels in the United States

Zebra Mussels

Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga mussels (D. bugensis) were introduced into the Great Lakes in the mid- to late-1980s from freshwater ballast discharged from freighters originating in the Black and Caspian Sea region of eastern Europe and western Asia.They filter vast amounts of plankton, decreasing the food source of other species and subsequently causing a lack of clarity in the water (from NY SeaGrant).


US Geologic Survey offers information and photos on identification, range, ecology and impacts.

New York Sea Grant page includes several in-depth fact sheets on the arrival and progression of the zebra mussel in New York waterways, and their impact on native species; how to identify juvenile members of the species; answers to questions frequently asked by impacted communities; and how to control zebra mussels relative to private drinking water systems and fire equipment. 

Protect Your Waters and Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers website has information on identifying zebra mussels, impacts, how the mussels affect recreational users, map of infestations, how to prevent their spread, and more.

Water Quality Signatures and The Zebra Mussel Invasion by David A. Matthews of the Upstate Freshwater Institute, discusses the impact of the zebra mussel with particular emphasis on Onondaga Lake.

Effects of Zebra Mussels

Invasive Mussels from the National Wildlife Federation covers reproduction, diet, prevention, and control of invasive mussels.

Last updated February 21, 2018