Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Although zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) initially colonized shallow habitats within the North American Great Lakes, quagga mussels (Dreissena bugensis) are becoming dominant in both shallow- and deep-water habitats. Shell morphology differs among zebra, shallow quagga and deep quagga mussels but functional consequences of such differences are unknown. We examined effects of shell morphology on locomotion for the three morphotypes on hard (typical of shallow habitats) and soft (characteristic of deep habitats) sedimentary substrates. We quantified morphology using the polar moment of inertia, a parameter used in calculating kinetic energy that describes shell area distribution and resistance to rotation. We quantified mussel locomotion by determining the ratio of rotational (Krot) to translational kinetic energy (Ktrans). On hard substrate, Krot:Ktransof deep quagga mussels was fourfold greater than for the other morphotypes, indicating greater energy expenditure in rotation relative to translation. On soft substrate, Krot:Ktrans of deep quagga mussels was approximately one-third of that on hard substrate, indicating lower energy expenditure in rotation on soft substrate. Overall, our study demonstrates that shell morphology correlates with differences in locomotion (i.e. Krot:Ktrans) among morphotypes. Although deep quagga mussels were similar to zebra and shallow quagga mussels in terms of energy expenditure on sedimentary substrate, their morphology was energetically maladaptive for linear movement on hard substrate. As quagga mussels can possess two distinct morphotypes (i.e. shallow and deep morphs), they might more effectively utilize a broader range of substrates than zebra mussels, potentially enhancing their ability to colonize a wider range of habitats.

    Publication Notes

    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Peyer, S. M.; Hermanson, J. C.; Lee, C. E. 2011. Effects of shell morphology on mechanics of zebra and quagga mussel locomotion. Journal of Experimental Biology. 214(13): 2226-2236.


    Google Scholar


    biological invasions, bivalve, functional morphology, Great Lakes, kinetic energy, locomotion, mollusc, moment of inertia, sediment.

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page