zebra mussel dreissena polymorpha l.
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Zebra Mussel ( Dreissena polymorpha ) An Invasive Aquatic Invertebrate Zebra mussels are small freshwater mollusks (fingernail sized) with a striped pattern on their shell which typically live 2 to 5 years in temperate climates.

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Zebra Mussel ( Dreissena polymorpha )

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zebra mussel dreissena polymorpha

Zebra Mussel(Dreissenapolymorpha)

An Invasive Aquatic Invertebrate


Zebra mussels are small freshwater mollusks (fingernail sized) with a striped pattern on their shell which typically live 2 to 5 years in temperate climates.

This is the only freshwater mussel that can attach to a hard surface. Zebra mussels breed prolifically and can form dense clusters Natural populations of 5,000 to 30,000 individual mussels per square meter are not uncommon.


Native to Eastern Europe and Western Asia.Believed to have been transported by freighters in ballast water, which was then released into the Great Lakes.First known occurrence of zebra mussels was in 1988 in the Great LakesIdentified in Laurel Lake in 2009

problems caused by zebra mussels natural
Problems caused by zebra mussels - Natural

Increased water clarity can increase weed growth

natural history
  • Zebra mussels reach sexual maturity after 1 or 2 years.
  • Optimal spawning temperature: >54°F.
  • External fertilization method by release of eggs and sperm directly into surrounding waters.
  • Up to one million eggs per female in a spawning season.

Juvenile Stage

After about a month, the veligers settle to the bottom and crawl in search of a suitable hard or rocky substrate. Juveniles have a difficult time staying attached when water velocities exceed 6 feet per second.


Zebra mussels are filter feeders - an adult mussel can filter one quart of water/day. They feed primarily on phytoplankton and zooplankton but also bacteria and detritus.


Water Chemistry Needs

  • Water temperature ranging from 32 - 90 °F; optimal temperatures are 63 - 74°F.
    • They will survive in water with a pH range of 7.4 - 9.0
    • Optimum calcium of 20 - 125 parts per million.
    • Their dissolved oxygen needs are 8-10 ppm.
2009 berkshire county watershed zm study results
2009 Berkshire County Watershed ZMStudy Results

High Risk:

Cheshire Reservoir

Onota Lake

Richmond Pond

Stockbridge Bowl

Lake Buel

Pontoosuc Lake

Prospect Lake

Lake Mansfield

Housatonic River

2009 zm study results
2009 ZM Study Results

Medium Risk

Ashmere Lake

Plunkett Reservoir

Shaw Pond

Lake Garfield

Low Risk

Goose Pond

Big Pond

Center Pond

Otis Reservoir

Benedict Pond

Thousand Acre Pond

Windsor Pond


At the present time, there is no known practical method to eradicate Zebra Mussels once they have become established.

We can just try to slow the spread down

what you can do to help stop the spread of invasives species
What you can do to help stop the spread of Invasives Species.
  • INSPECT boat, trailer, and other recreational equipment that have been in contact with water.
  • REMOVE all mud, plants, or animals.
  • DRAIN all bilge water, live wells, bait buckets, and all other water from your boat, engine and equipment.
  • WASH all parts of your boat/paddles/other equipment that have been in contact with water. Do not allow wash water to flow into any water body or storm sewer.
  • DRY boats and trailers in sun for FIVE days before launching into another waterbody
  • Disinfectant boat and equipment following state Guidelines for Boats and Equipment
proposed sb 2113
Proposed SB 2113
  • Amends section 37B of chapter 21
  • Establishes zebra mussels and other species as aquatic nuisances
  • Makes it illegal to place a vessel or trailer containing an aquatic nuisance into commonwealth waters unless properly decontaminated
  • DCR may make rules and regulations to implement an aquatic nuisance control program.
      • Establishes civil fines up to $10,000 for violations
  • Amends chapter 90B boating laws Established criminal penalties of $100- $300 or not more than 30 days in jail for first offense.
  • $500 - $1,000 or not more that 60 days in jail for 2nd offense.
  • $5,000 or up to 90 days in jail for third offense.
  • May also revoke boat registration number.
2010 zm management plan
2010 ZM Management Plan

Boat Ramp Monitors –

State funded

Laurel Lake, April to October, 7 day coverage

Onota & Pontoosuc, Memorial to Labor Day, 5 day.

Stockbridge Bowl, 5 day coverage

Lake Buel

Cheshire Reservoir

Richmond Pond

Lake and Pond Associations volunteers or private donations

All state ramps have educational kiosks and boat certification forms

2010 management plan
2010 Management Plan

Boat Wash Stations

Stockbridge, MET Grant

Pittsfield, V’s Car Wash, W Housatonic St.

Laurel Lake, portable high pressure wash

Education and Outreach programs –


Local efforts to cover non-state access areas.

Lake and Pond Associations & LAPA West efforts.


Special thanks to:

    • MassWildlife Natural Heritage & Endangered
    • Species Program
    • DCR Lakes and Ponds Program
  • Potential Zebra Mussel Habitat in MassachusettsFrom: Douglas Smith, UMASS, Amherst, 1993
  • USGS Zebra Mussel website