Benthic Invertebrates - Dreissenidae of the Great Lakes

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Great Lakes Waterlife Photo Gallery
Benthic Invertebrates - Bivalves
Dreissenidae

  

photo - zebra mussel on left and quagga on right, courtesy of USGS.

Two species of Dreissenid mussels have invaded the Great Lakes. Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha - left image) are generally darker than quagga mussels (Dreissena bugensis - right image) and have a more distinctive triangular shape with a flattened edge. A zebra mussel placed on edge will tend to stay upright, whereas the quagga mussel will roll over. These two species are capable of hybridizing to produce intermediate forms.
Globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteDistinguishing the two species - USGS FAQ
Globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteMI Sea Grant - Profiles
Globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteZebra Mussel Information System - US Army Corps of Engineers

Dreissena polymorpha - zebra mussel

Globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteProfile: USGS - NASbase
Globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteProfile: Invasive Species.gov
Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteProfile: SGNIS
Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteSea Grant National Invasive Species Clearinghouse
Globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteProfile: GLIN
Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteWatch Card and Fact Sheets: MN Sea Grant
Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteZebra Mussel Watch - WI Sea Grant
Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteFact Sheet - PA Sea Grant
Globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteProfile for kids - WI DNR
Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteNOAA Research Article - Origin of Zebra Mussels
Globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteLife Cycle - Wayne State
GLANSIS

Invasive species entered the Great Lakes in the mid-1980's from the Caspian Sea via ballast water. Filter feeder. Causes biofouling. Size to ~ 1 inch. Adults are male and female - not hermaphroditic. Larvae are planktonic until they reach a settling stage at ~ 1-3mm when they begin to look more like adults.

Zebra mussel photo

Globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteUSGS - NASbase

Other drawings/artwork:
GLERL
Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteSGNISkids

Other photos:
GLERL
Globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteUSGS - NASbase
Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteSGNIS
Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteSGNIS Graphics Library
Globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteProfile for kids - WI DNR
Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteNOAA Research Article - Origin of Zebra Mussels

 

Dreissena rostriformis bugensis - quagga mussel

Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteProfile - SGNIS
Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteProfile - PA Sea Grant
Globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteProfile - USGS NASbase
Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteSea Grant National Invasive Species Clearinghouse
GLANSIS

Invasive species native to Europe. Probably entered the Great Lakes in the early 1990's. Prefers deeper waters than the zebra mussel. Adults are male and female - not hermaphroditic. Larvae are planktonic until they reach a settling stage at ~ 1-3mm when they begin to look more like adults.

Quagga Mussel Photo

Globe icon indicates a link to a non-NOAA siteUSGS - NASbase

Other photos:
Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteSGNIS
Bird icon indicates a link to a NOAA siteMI Sea Grant

 

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