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Zebra Mussels

Invasive Species in Michigan

What is it?

Zebra Mussels are on Michigan's Invasive Species watch list. They are triangular in shape and vary in color ranging from tan to brown. They sometimes have dark rings but are not always easily noticeable. On average, Zebra Mussels are 1 inch long and each mussel can filter up to 1 liter of water each day.

Impacting Local Habitats

Zebra Mussels are filter feeders that remove tons of particulates and phytoplankton from freshwater habitats they have infested. This decreases food for zoo plankton and increases water transparency. They can colonize on native mussel species in groups of up to 10,000 zebra mussels which kills the native mussel. Zebra mussel colonies can also cause economic damage to pipes and underwater structures.

Their shells can also be very sharp and can easily cut water-goers. This is especially impactful in tourist areas where Zebra Mussels have spread.

What to do

If you see Zebra Mussels in your local waterways, report them using the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network's online reporting tool here >