Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 561–573 | Cite as

Range expansion of quagga mussels Dreissena rostriformis bugensis in the Volga River and Caspian Sea basin

  • Marina I. Orlova
  • Jim R. Muirhead
  • Pavel I. Antonov
  • Gregory Kh. Shcherbina
  • Yaroslav I. Starobogatov
  • G. I. Biochino
  • Thomas W. Therriault
  • Hugh J. MacIsaacEmail author


In 1992, we discovered populations of the nonindigenous quagga mussel Dreissena rostriformis bugensis (Andrusov 1897) in the middle reaches of the Volga River. The same species was found in samples collected between 1994 and 1997 in the Volga delta and in shallow areas of the Northern Caspian Sea. D. r. bugensis always co-occurred with its more widespread congener, the zebra mussel D. polymorpha (Pallas 1771). The quagga mussel’s contribution to total Dreissena abundance increased over time in the middle Volga reservoirs and Volga River delta. D. r. bugensis was common in the Volga portion of Rybinsk Reservoir during 1997 and, by 2000, it was in Uglich, Rybinsk and Gorky Reservoirs on the Upper Volga River. D. r. bugensis was neither found in Ivankov Reservoir, nor in terminal sections of the Volga-Baltic corridor including the eastern Gulf of Finland. Presently, all but the northern-most regions of the Volga River have been colonized by D. r. bugensis. We hypothesize that its introduction into the Volga River and Caspian basin occurred no later than the late 1980s via commercial shipping that utilized the Volga-Don waterway to navigate between the source Black-Azov Sea region and recipient areas on the Volga River. Larval drift likely contributed to establishment of populations at downstream sites, while human-mediated vectors may be responsible for introductions to upstream locations on the Volga River. We anticipate continued northward dispersal in conjunction with shipping activities.

Key words

Caspian Sea Dreissena Invasion chronology Invasive species Nonindigenous species Quagga mussel Volga River 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina I. Orlova
    • 1
  • Jim R. Muirhead
    • 2
  • Pavel I. Antonov
    • 3
  • Gregory Kh. Shcherbina
    • 4
  • Yaroslav I. Starobogatov
    • 1
  • G. I. Biochino
    • 1
  • Thomas W. Therriault
    • 2
  • Hugh J. MacIsaac
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Zoological InstituteRussian Academy of SciencesRussia
  2. 2.Great Lakes Institute for Environmental ResearchUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  3. 3.Institute of Ecology of the Volga BasinRussian Academy of SciencesRussia
  4. 4.Institute of Inland Waters BiologyRussian Academy of SciencesRussia

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