Mytilopis leucophaeata is another biofouling mussel species similar in appearance to the zebra mussel. It typically inhabits more brackish water habits.
Common Name: False dark mussel
Native Dreissenacea: Native to North America.
Habitat: Attached to hard substrates (epifaunal) in brackish habitats (salinities >5 ppt)
Size: Small, shell length ranges between <1and 2 cm, with an average length of 1 cm
Life span: Short-lived (3-5 years)
· Dioecious (i.e., seperate sexes) with external fertilization.
· Larvae are planktonic, much like those of Dreissena spp.
· Larvae settle out of the plankton and attach to hard substrates with byssal threads as described for D. polymorpha (See Life History section).
· Myophore plate (shelf) present anteriorly.
· Apophysis (tooth) present on the anterior myophore plate.
All three dreissenid mussels have a shell or myophore plate located anteriorly on the internal portion of the shell. Only Mytilopis leucophaeata has an apophysis or projection on the lateral margin of its myophore plate (as indicated by the arrow). This protrusion, used for mussel attachment, is absent in both zebra and quagga mussels. It can be observed using a hard lens or dissecting microscope.
· Dorsally tapered shell valves.
· Epifaunal, attached to hard substrate.
· Umbone located anteriorly.
· Byssal threads present ventrally.
· Bottom of organism convex and lacking an acute angle.
Included Groups or Species
Zebra Mussel Identification