As An Invasive Species
The native distribution of the species is in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea in Eurasia. Zebra mussels have become an invasive species in North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Sweden. They disrupt the ecosystems by monotypic colonization, and damage harbors and waterways, ships and boats, and water treatment and power plants. Water treatment plants are most impacted because the water intakes bring the microscopic free-swimming larvae directly into the facilities. The Zebra Mussels also cling on to pipes under the water and clog them.
Grossinger reported it in Hungary in 1794. Kerney and Morton described the rapid colonization of Britain by the zebra mussel, first in Cambridgeshire in the 1820s, London in 1824, and in the Union Canal near Edinburgh in 1834. In 1827 zebra mussels were seen in the Netherlands at Rotterdam. Canals that artificially link many European waterways facilitated their early dispersal. It is non-indigenous in the Czech Republic in Elbe river in Bohemia since 1893; in southern Moravia is probably native. Around 1920 the mussels reached Lake Mälaren in Sweden.
The first Italian appearance of the organism was in northern Italy in Lake Garda in 1973; in central Italy they appeared in Tuscany in 2003.
Zebra mussels are also present in British waterways. Many water companies are reporting having problems with their water treatment plants with the mussels attaching themselves to pipeworks. Anglian Water has estimated that it costs £500,000 to remove the mussels from their treatment plants. It has been argued that Zebra Mussels also have had an effect on fish populations, with dwindling fish populations in areas such as Salford Quays.
Read more about this topic: Zebra Mussel
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