Comments: Czarnoleski et al. (2004) found that zebra mussel density not affected by substrate orientation, but was significantly higher on complex than on flat substrates indicating gregariousness of zebra mussels may be an evolved antipredation strategy rather than a result of hyperproduction of larvae competing for scarce substrates.
Zebra mussels live in still or slow-moving freshwater, and attach themselves to any hard surface under water, natural or man-made, including rocks, submerged wood, boat hulls, buoys, docks, and water intake pipes. They need water will dissolved calcium to live, and they grow best if the water is not acidic at all.
Most zebra mussels live in water that is 2 to 12 meters deep. In shallower water waves and ice make it harder for them to survive. They can live in much deeper water -- some zebra mussels have been found as deep as 60 meters, and they can probably live deeper than that.
They stop growing at about 3°C, and increase their growth and feeding rates as they warm to 20-25°C. Above that they slow down and again, and start to die at 30°C.
Range depth: 1 to 60 m.
Habitat Regions: temperate ; freshwater
Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds; rivers and streams
Los adultos sobreviven a una temperatura mínima de 0 °C, la mínima para alimentarse es de 5°C, para crecer 10°C y para reproducirse 12 °C.Experimentalmente se ha encontrado que el límite de temperatura superior para sobrevivir es de 30-32 °C (DEFRA 2005).
El pH de un cuerpo de agua es uno de los factores más importantes que influyen en la distribución de los mejillones cebra; sobrevive en un rango de pH de 6.5 hasta 7.3 (Sprung, 1993; Vinogradov et al., 1993; Claudi &Mackie, 1994; Maguire &Sykes, 2004)
D. polymorpha se sujeta al sustrato mediante un biso formando colonias en forma de extensos y densos racimos o tapetes semejantes a las mejilloneras marinas (Araujo, ND). D. polimorpha presenta un comportamiento colonial, agrupando miles de individuos por metro cuadrado. Esta característica es la principal causa de problemas, derivados de su expansión ya que estas colonias tapan o cubren todo tipo de estructuras, desde tuberías hasta lechos rocosos (Alcántara de la Fuente 2006).
This species is native to the drainage basins of the Black, Caspian and Aral Seas (Birnbaum 2006). It is a highly invasive mussel, and has spread throughout Europe, to southern Scandinavia and Britain, east into Eurasia and south to Turkey via shipping canals. Rather than a natural migration, this spread has been human-mediated and therefore this species classes as an alien in these regions (S. Nehring pers. comm cited in Birnbaum 2006). This species has also been discovered in Lake St. Clair in the Laurentian Great Lakes region (in 1988), and has since spread throughout North American freshwaters (Therriault et al. 2004).
Two subspecies are included: D. p. andrusovi (Andrusov 1897), which is restricted to the northern Caspian Sea; and D. p. aralensis (Andrusov 1897), occurring in waterbodies adjacent to the Aral Sea (Kantor et al. 2009).
There are three stages in the life of a zebra mussel. The speed of development depends on temperature -- warmer mussels grow faster. About 3-5 days after fertilization, a tiny larva that emerges from the egg. This stage is called the veliger. It can swim upward (but not strong enough to swim against a current), and has only a tiny start of a shell. It grows, and when it develops several internal organs (including a muscular foot), and peak (called an umbo) at the hinge of its shell, it is in the next stage, the postveliger. The postveliger continues to grow, and after about a month, it settles onto a hard surface. It uses its foot to move slowly, and when it finds a suitable spot, glue itself to the surface, where it will stay for the rest of its life. Then it metamorphoses into the adult stage.