The invasive mussels known as quagga and zebra will be facing a new enemy as the state of Montana has a new strategy in combating the damaging species.
Invasive mussels would not seem to be such a big problem, but the tiny mussels have been producing billions worth of damages since their first appearance in the United States waters some thirty years ago.
The two invasive mussels species are the quagga and zebra subtypes and as the freshwater mussels are original to Eastern Europe, they were first spotted in the 1980’s in the American Great Lakes.
It is believed that they were picked up by the ballast water produced by large, seagoing ships and transported to the US.
By the early 1990’s, they had already spread throughout the whole natural area probably taking advantage of ships traveling on both the natural as well as the artificial waterways.
The invasive mussels have no natural predator in the area and as such, have reproduced in great numbers as their population is estimated to number more than 10 trillion specimens.
As the quagga and zebra mussels naturally feed on plankton, their ever increasing numbers are leaving less such food sources for the other fish, natives to the ecosystems.
Their tendencies to consume the food necessary to other environment inhabitants and thus damage the ecosystem is not their only disruptive trait.
These mussels exhibit the tendency of living in sharp bunches that have, throughout the years, ruined both pipe systems and quite a number of beaches and produced many monetary damages.
Authorities have been fighting the invasive mussels outspread, but scientists have yet to come up with a solution that would stop their invasion whilst also not affecting other wildlife elements.
In the battle to control the invasion, Montana has come up with a new method that will help them sniff out potential new mussel larvae, environmentalist dogs.
These canine helpers have been trained so as to detect the presence of the quagga and zebra mussels by their scent.
As new boats enter the inspection sites, man’s best friend is sent to protect nature by detecting, before entering the waterways, if the ships also carry the unwanted invasive mussels.
The environmentalist dogs have also been sent to areas that are believed to house mussels larvae, which cannot be initially detected but which could lead to future invasions.
The dogs will also be sent to neighboring bodies of water so as to determine the possibility and spread of the invasive mussels.
Montana state authorities had been hoping to deflect the mussels invasion as they have been enforcing a number of precautionary measures.
Despite all these, the area registered its first positive test to the presence of invasive zebra and quagga larvae, which led to the preventive closing of the Glacier Park.
Boating in the Glacier Park area has been prohibited until the source of the possible future invasion will be detected.
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