Monday, February 20, 2006
Move over zebra mussels, there's a new bad-boy-bivalve in town! mlive.com is reporting that the Quagga mussel (Dreissena bugensis), a close relative of the zebra mussel (D. polymorpha), now covers vast areas of the bottom of Lake Michigan. The Quaggas have overtaken much of the habitat formerly covered by zebra mussels, and also expanded their range to lower lake depths due to their increased cold tolerance. Scientists are now predicting the ecological impact of this species will be greater than that of the zebra mussel, one of the "poster children" of the fight against aquatic nuisance species. The Quagga was first discovered in the Great Lakes ecosystem in 1989, though past mentions of it were typically relegated to a note or sidebar in an article focusing solely on the zebra mussel.
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