were found for the first time in North America in 1988 in Lake St. Clair,
which is part of the Great Lakes system. Lake St. Clair is the small,
heart-shaped lake between Lakes Huron and Erie. The large red dot to the left
of Lake St. Clair is the city of Detroit, and zebra mussels quickly spread
away from there.
|How did they
spread? The larvae can spread on water currents, of course, but most zebra
mussels probably dispersed by attaching to solid objects, particularly boat
hulls, motors, and anchors. Latching onto barges may be an effective way for
zebra mussels to spread through river systems. In addition, zebra mussels may
colonize aquatic plants, for example, if boaters fail to clean the plants off
their boats and trailers when they pull their boats out of the water.
can survive a long time out of water, depending on the temperature (they like
it cool), the humidity (more humid is better), wind (less wind is
preferable), and sunlight (they like shade). On average, adults can survive
about 10 days out of water and juveniles about 3 days, but theyve been known
to survive as long as 21 days out of water in cool, moist conditions.