Zebra mussels are small freshwater mollusks that are about the size of a fingernail. They have a striped pattern on their shell, as seen below.
Zebra mussel facts
- Species name: Dreissena polymorpha
- Native to Eastern Europe/Western Asia.
- They can be found in freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers, as well as all kinds of hard surfaces.
- Zebra mussels typically live 2-5 years in temperate climates, with water temperatures ranging from 32 - 90 °F.
- Zebra mussels reach sexual maturity after 1 or 2 years, and one female can release up to one million eggs in a spawning season.
- Natural populations of 5,000 to 30,000 individual mussels per square meter are not uncommon.
- Zebra mussels are filter feeders, an adult can filter one quart of water per day.
- They feed primarily on phytoplankton and zooplankton but also bacteria and detritus.
- Zebra mussels spread within bodies of water and between bodies of water.