Golden mussel

Where did the golden mussel come from?

  • The golden mussel is native to China and Southeast Asia.
  • It probably made its way into South America via ballast water.
  • Although it has not been detected in North America, it is predicted to be a future threat.


Why is the golden mussel a problem?

  • When the golden mussel invaded South America, it caused problems similar to those caused by zebra and quagga mussels in the Great Lakes region, including clogging pipes and altering the food web.
  • The golden mussel can survive in a wider range of habitats than either the quagga or zebra mussel.


What does the golden mussel look like?

  • Size ranges from just under 1/2 inch to 2 inches.
  • The shell is a golden or yellowish color.
  • The inner surface has a purple mother-of-pearl layer.


How does it spread?

  • Mussels may be attached to boats, aquatic plants, nets or fishing equipment and may be transported into new bodies of water.
  • Microscopic larvae can be transported in ballast water.


What habitat does it prefer?

  • The golden mussel lives in brackish to freshwater.
  • It attaches to hard surfaces.
  • It is tolerant of water temperatures found in the lower Great Lakes region.