Invasive mussel spreads in backwaters

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News: Charru mussel (Mytella strigata), an invasive species is spreading in the backwaters of Kerala.

Facts:

  • Charru mussel(Mytella strigata): It is an invasive species native to the South and Central Americas.
  • It spreads primarily through the discharge of ballast waters of ships (seawater carried in the ballast tanks of ships to improve its stability and balance).
  • It can tolerate a wide variety of environmental conditions (salinity, water temperatures and oxygen levels) which helps them thrive in the new areas they colonise.
  • Threat: 
    • They displace native species of mussel and clam species (which local fishermen depend on for their livelihood) from their coastal habitats and cause a reduction in native biodiversity.

Additional Facts:

  • Invasive Species: It is an organism that causes ecological or economic harm in a new environment where it is not native.