quagga mussel

plural quagga mussels

Definition of quagga mussel

: a small, freshwater, lamellibranch mollusk (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis synonym Dreissena rostriformis) native to the Dnieper river and its tributaries that has been introduced into the Great Lakes and other waterways where it colonizes and clogs water intake pipes, competes with native fish for food, and disrupts food webs by consuming phytoplankton The mussel-coated debris is unmistakable evidence of an event occurring silently and largely out of sight—the colonization of the Colorado River by the quagga mussel, a fingernail-size Eurasian bivalve with an astonishing sex drive and a nasty reputation for causing economic and ecological havoc.— John Collins Rudolf Less than four years after that reassuring report, quagga mussels have gone from a rare find on the bottom of Lake Michigan to its dominant invasive mussel. Along the way, they have done what many invasion biologists thought would be impossible: They have nearly annihilated Lake Michigan's zebra mussel population.— Dan Egan

First Known Use of quagga mussel

1991, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for quagga mussel

after zebra mussel, the quagga mussel being less markedly striped, and hence comparable to the quagga in relation to the zebra

Learn More About quagga mussel

Time Traveler for quagga mussel

Time Traveler

The first known use of quagga mussel was in 1991

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near quagga mussel


quagga mussel


See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for quagga mussel

Cite this Entry

“Quagga mussel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quagga%20mussel. Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!