Harmful And Invasive Species Of Mussels Identified For The First Time In North Carolina
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission announced that they have confirmed a report of Zebra mussels in North Carolina. This is the first time the species has been identified in the state. The mussels were found in a quarry on private property in Iredell County. According to a Facebook post (seen below), “the Wildlife Commission believes the mussels are contained to the quarry.” The department is working on options for treatments to take care of invasive species as well as investigating the occurrence. Divers confirmed the suspicion of the existence of the zebra mussels on Thursday. The scuba divers fro the US Fish and Wildlife Service investigated and were able to confirm these are in fact zebra mussels.
Zebra mussels multiply and spread easily. The adults attach themselves to boats, dock lifts, and other water-related equipment to spread to other bodies of water. And the larvae which are microscopic in size can be transported in any water that is moved to another location. What makes the species such a problem? Well, they disrupt the food chain and alter the chemistry of the water. Once being introduced to an environment they quickly take it over. They filter out algae that native species need for food as well as attach to and destroy the ecosystem’s native mussels according to the USGS
. They can also infiltrate both public drinking and wastewater systems.
While this is the first time Zebra Mussels have been discovered in the wild in North Carolina, the fingernail-sized mollusks were found in moss balls sold at pet stores back in 2021. According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, it is unlawful to transport, purchase, possess, sell, or stock zebra mussels in public or private North Carolina waters.
Learn more, including how to report zebra mussel sightings and how to prevent the spread of invasive species, at: bit.ly/3RtPmCX
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