The Life of a Zebra Mussel

mollusktais1 and mollusktais2

Hi, my name is Dreissena polymorpha but you can call me Zebra Mussel. My great great, great grandfather was from Europe but he was accidentally taken into a big ship when he was just a veliger (larvae) into the St. Lawrence river in Canada. Eventually, he came into Lake Ontario and met my great great, great grandmother, who was also from Europe, and one day, when the temperature of the lake was just above 12 degrees Celsius and the algae had released pheromones, they had my great, great grandfather. This process of fertilization is called "spawning". My great, great grandfather then swam about the lake and when his shell started to grow and got really heavy.  He was forced to sink down and attach himself to a different type of mussel. Unfortunately, not all of his brothers and sisters survived because some of them didn't attach to a hard surface.

About one year later, my great, great grandfather spawned for the first time and had many more kids, one of which was my great grandmother. She, along with some brothers and sisters, found a little river which was much more pleasant than the lake and so she, as well as my grandmother, stayed there until they died at the age of 4 and 5, respectively. When my father was born, however, he had heard a rumour about these pipes in a lake up north that supposedly had a never ending flow of water and food so he went up there and found one for himself. There he met my mother and a year later they had me and my siblings. We all live in this pipe so it's getting pretty crowded but at least the water still flows so there is plankton for all of us.

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Author: mollusktais1 and mollusktais2
Classroom Project: Mollusk
Havergal College
Toronto, Ontario Canada

License: Tree of Life & Partners uses only - Version 1.0

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to , Havergal College

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