Archive for January 31st, 2012

Invasives: Zebra Mussels

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

There are two types of aquatic mussels in Texas: those that belong here, and those that don’t.

Texas Parks and Wildlife aquatic habitat enhancement director Earl Chilton says native mussels indicate when rivers and lakes are healthy.

10—Native mussels often have pretty strict environmental requirements, and you can tell whether a system is healthy or not by the kind of native mussel population it has.

Invasive species like zebra mussels aren’t native to Texas. Because they have no natural competitors here, they reproduce quickly. And large numbers of zebra mussels can clog pipes and even kill native mussels.

14—Unlike native mussels, zebra mussels have byssal threads they use to attach to various objects. They also can attach to native mussels and when enough of them attach to a native mussel they can actually suffocate that mussel.

So how can you tell the difference between these good and bad mussels?

07—Zebra mussels are small and they’re going to attach to things. If you see a mussel attached to something it is a non-native mussel.

But native freshwater mussels don’t attach to anything. Now that you know the difference, you can find out how you can help stop the spread of zebra mussels and protect the native species

That’s our show… the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration program supports our series… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.