Wednesday, November 07, 2007

And The Zebra Mussels Will Inherit The Earth

The zebra mussel (Dreissenia polymorpha), a dangerous new invasive species in North America. While less than an inch in length, it has a tremendous reproductive rate and apparently no significant natural enemies in North America. It's larvae are free-swimming and do not require an intermediate host. They will attach to any hard surface, even each other. They are capable of completely obstructing water intakes at power plants, smother native mussels by growing all over them and completely dominate benthic substrates and remove tremendous amounts of plankton from aquatic food webs.

UPI reports:
The trailer of a truck inspected last month in West Lakeland Township, Minn., was found to be completely infested with zebra mussels, a report says.

As part of a required inspection at an area weigh station, a North Dakota company's vehicle was found to be carrying more than 5,000 of the marine creatures, which are known for their rapid proliferation, the Minneapolis Star Tribune said Wednesday.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Lt. John Hunt said that the mussels were found after the truck was deemed too small for the load it was carrying.

He said the Oct. 27 discovery of the animals, known to disrupt the aquatic food chain in certain areas, helped head off a potential threat to the region and even the country.

"Think of how many bridges they potentially drove across where small items can fall into the water below," Hunt told the newspaper. "The vibration from the road or bridge surface could have caused zebra mussels to fall off into who-knows-how-many bodies of water across the country."

The invasive zebra mussels are native to southeast Russia.

Protect your waters from these opportunistic creatures.

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