What we know and don’t know about the invasive zebra (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) mussels

Author: Alexander Y. Karatayev, Lyubov E. Burlakova
Year: 2022
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-022-04950-5

Type: Journal Article
Topic: Biology, Dispersal, Ecosystem Impacts




We summarized existing knowledge on Dreissena polymorpha (the zebra mussel) and D. r. bugensis (the quagga mussel), including data on their taxonomy, systematics, evolution, life cycle, reproduction, feeding, growth and longevity, population dynamics, interspecific competition, habitat requirements, and distribution within and among waterbodies. We analyzed the history of spread of both species and the major pathways and vectors of their spread in Europe and North America. Special consideration was given to their ecological and economic impacts and their natural enemies, like waterfowl, fishes, and parasites, as well as the prevention of their introduction, early detection, control, and containment. We also outlined the most salient ecosystem services provided by zebra and quagga mussels, including water purification, nutrient recycling, culling the effects of eutrophication, biomonitoring, and their role as a food resource for fish and waterfowl. Finally, we identified major knowledge gaps and key studies needed to better understand the biology, ecology, and impacts of these aggressive freshwater invaders. Our review indicates that much crucial information on the quagga mussel is still missing, including key life history parameters, like spawning cues, fecundity, and longevity, particularly for the profundal zone of deep lakes.