Zebra mussel

Wandering mussel; scientific name: Dreissena polymorpha
The soft body of a zebra mussel is extracted
Photo: UPB-Projektgruppe Trier

Common mussel species as invasive animal in rivers and lakes with high information level for water pollution

The zebra mussel is a sedentary inhabitant of slow-flowing and stagnant waters, where it filters vegetable and animal microorganisms. As a consequence, it is exposed to hazardous substances, whether in solution or particulate suspension and, therefore, useful in active biomonitoring and in toxicity and impact tests. To ensure quantitative availability, easy access and improved reproducibility, an exposure system has been developed using uncontaminated breeding sites which can be colonized by larvae until adulthood.

The entire soft body is used as a specimen. Sampling takes place yearly between September and late November, preferably after final spawning.

For more information about the specimen, the sampling and the processing of samples see the Guideline for Sampling and Sample Processing Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha).

Target organs/Matrices

  • Soft body
    The soft body of the mussel enriches the filtrated substances. It consists of muscles and inner organs.

Sampling area


Sampling period

1994 - 2022

Extended information

Links to external information and legislation