Lake Garda as a hot spot for invasions
Quagga mussel, Dreissena bugensis (Andrusov, 1897), capable of causing rapid colonization of freshwater ecosystems, has been reported for the first time in Italy. This species is a bivalve mollusk belonging to the Dreissenidae family, native to the southern Dnieper River drainage in Ukraine and is one of the most aggressive invaders in freshwater ecosystems. Typical features of ecological relevance of this family are the presence of a byssus that allows adults and juveniles to attach to substrates or hosts, and the production of numerous free-swimming larvae (veligers) that favor rapid dispersal.
The discovery of the quagga mussel in 2022 is the last of a long series of reports of alien species introduced into Lake Garda, in northern Italy. The quagga mussel has been identified in two areas of Lake Garda, that allowed hypothesizing a complete colonization of this new species in the whole lake.
Transport can happen trough shells attached to the hull, or even larval conveyance surviving in small water volumes inside the boats and equipment. As one of the most popular tourist activities in Lake Garda and in the other large lakes south of the Alps, recreational boating could play a significant role in the further spread of D. bugensis in other Italian lakes and considering its high colonization rate it can be assumed that D. bugensis will soon establish itself with dominant populations throughout Lake Garda. At the same time, it can also be assumed that it will soon spread to other Italian water bodies. This is confirmed by the recent finding of quagga mussel in Ceresio lake, at the border between Italy and Switzerland (https://bit.ly/48EbQr2).
It’s time to take action: check, clean and dry your boat and equipment when moving from one water body to another! (https://bit.ly/3tg3dD0).
To find out more here is the complete article: https://bit.ly/3PZkf0X.