Archived Outdoors

Zebra mussels found in N.C.

Zebra mussels, a harmful invasive species, have been found in North Carolina. File photo Zebra mussels, a harmful invasive species, have been found in North Carolina. File photo

The zebra mussel, a harmful invasive aquatic species, has been confirmed in the wild for the first time in North Carolina.


The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission investigated and confirmed a report of zebra mussels living in a quarry in Iredell County on Thursday, Sept. 21, with help from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scuba divers. The Wildlife Commission believes the mussels are contained to the quarry and is working on options for treatment while continuing its investigation.

These prolific mussels can quickly take over and impact other aquatic wildlife by disrupting the food chain and changing water chemistry, and they’re capable of clogging public drinking and wastewater systems, as well as damaging recreational equipment. Adult mussels move to new water bodies by attaching to equipment like boats and dock lifts, and microscopic larvae can be transported through gear like bait buckets and diving equipment.

Zebra mussels were previously found living on moss balls sold in pet stores in March 2021.

To prevent the spread of invasive species, clean equipment of aquatic plants, animals and mud; drain water from boats, live wells, bait buckets and other equipment; dry all equipment thoroughly; and never move fish, plants or other organisms from one body of water to another. 

To report suspected zebra mussels, call 828.558.6013.

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