Invasives: Zebra Mussels

This is Passport to Texas

Unlike invasive feral hogs and tiger shrimp, the half-inch zebra mussel is too small to eat, and not very tasty if you do. Too bad; if they had food value, you could get your fill at Lake Texoma in North Texas.

10—Zebra mussels are an invasive species that got into Lake Texoma—probably by boat—back in April 2009. Since then, the population’s expanded greatly.

Chief of research and management at Texas Parks and Wildlife, Dave Terre, says the small, rapidly reproducing shellfish can wreak havoc in a water body.

14— These zebra mussels colonize boats, which can actually damage your boat. They can load up on beaches and cause problems wading while swimming. They clog pipes. They do all sorts of damage to our natural resources as well.

It’s not uncommon to find multiple zebra mussels attached to native mussels, eventually killing them. Unless Lake Texoma boaters take precautions, they can unwittingly transport zebra mussel adults, or their microscopic larvae, to uninfected waters.

18— We want to encourage people to get outdoors, and go fishing and go boating. But at Lake Texoma, boaters need to be aware that it’s important for them to clean, drain and dry their boat before they go to another water body to prevent the spread of zebra mussels across the state.

We’ll learn more about this invasive species tomorrow.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and funds conservation projects in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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