Animal of the day – 4/14/2011 – The Quagga Mussel

Quagga Mussel

The animal of the day is the Quagga Mussel. (Did you know: These fingernail sized mussels, along with their zebra mussel relatives are wreaking havoc in the Great Lakes of Michigan.

These guys are a textbook case of showing how delicate a food web is. These mussels eat algae. Alot of algae. And unlike their zebra mussel friends, these guys can live in deep water [not just shorelines and boat hulls like the zebra mussels are limited to].

The result? Alot less algae for plankton to eat, meaning alot less plankton for small fish to eat, meaning alot less small fish for big fish to eat, meaning alot less fish in general. Makes sense.

The big problem is that, we just started to notice the effects, and their population size is still growing exponentially.

Oh, and they also block up pipes,

boat propellers,

Even this guys hand!

One of the worst parts about the whole mussel scenario is that while they are edible to humans and fish, they also filter alot of the pollution out of the water, and into their bodies…So eating too much of them can fill you [and the fish they eat] up with toxins. Yay.


5 thoughts on “Animal of the day – 4/14/2011 – The Quagga Mussel

  1. I had no idea these were so tiny! And from what I understand- they are non-native to Michigan Lakes. How did they get here!? On a boat? Either way, go away quagga! no one wants you around!

    • They are invasive as all hell! They’re originally from Ukraine, and were probably brought in from ballast water. As you may or may not know, ships have huge tanks of water that they use to increase the weight of the ship when the cargo hold is empty.
      When these ships dock, and move, they take the ballast water with them. If the ballast water has eggs, or tiny organisms from another part of the world, kapow! There’s your invasive species introduced right there!

  2. your blog is brilliant and has so much information. but my favourite part by far is the first picture. It is amazing
    cannot wait till your next post!

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