Two exotic species of dreissenid mussels (Dreissena polymorpha and D. bugensis) began to colonize bottom substrates in Presque Isle Bay, Lake Erie in 1990. By 1991, all native unionid (Unionidae) shells were infested by dreissenids. In 1990 and 1991, about 500 individual unionids of 15 species were collected: in 1992, 246 individuals of 12 species were collected; in 1993, 64 individuals of 6 species; in 1994, three individuals of three species; and in 1995, no unionids were found. In general, infestation indices of unionids were relatively low in 1990 and 1991, increased in 1992, and decreased in 1993. Mortality of unionids associated with infestation in the bay occurred in a shorter period of time (ca. two to three years) than has been documented in other water bodies. Observations in an area of Presque Isle not included in the present study, indicate that a small remnant population of unionids exists in the presence of heavily-colonized substrates by dreissenid mussels. Since other shallow-water areas of Lake Erie support infestation-free unionids in the presence of dreissenid mussels, it is hoped that some unionids will survive in Presque Isle Bay of Lake Erie.
Additional publication details
Mortality of unionid bivalves (Mollusca) associated with Dreissenid mussels (Dreissena polymorpha and D. bugensis) in Presque Isle Bay, Lake Erie