Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 401–418 | Cite as

Invasion ecology of quagga mussels (Dreissena  rostriformis  bugensis): a review of evolutionary and phylogenetic impacts

  • Marina I. OrlovaEmail author
  • Thomas W. Therriault
  • Pavel I. Antonov
  • Gregory Kh. Shcherbina


Two invasive freshwater mussels, Dreissena  rostriformis  bugensis (quagga mussel) and D. polymorpha (zebra mussel), reveal differences in patterns and timing of their invasions in Europe. They belong to different clades in Dreissena phylogenetics: D. rostriformis  bugensis genetically is coupled with the brackish water, lacustrine D. r. distincta and the two are believed to represent a single species. As such, the guaqqa mussel has environmental requirements that differ from the congeneric D. polymorpha. D. rostriformis  bugensis invasions were confined to reservoirs of the Dnieper, Don and Dniester Rivers of the Black Sea basin. We recorded D. r. bugensis outside the Black Sea basin for the first time between 1992 and 2001, along the Volga River reservoir cascade including the Northern Caspian Sea shallows. This represents a 40-year invasion time lag since an invasion corridor through the Volgo-Don Waterway was established in 1952 (a corridor used extensively by many invertebrate species from the Black Sea region). We attribute the postponed invasion of Europe by D. r. bugensis, including peculiarities in establishment and its absence in fossil records, to its phylogenetically close relationship with D. r. distincta and its recent evolutionary origin. The relatively rapid range expansion of D. r. bugensis in eastern Europe during the past several decades was facilitated by human-mediated ecosystem transformation, notably impoundment of large eastern European rivers, that have allowed this species to utilize newly transformed ecosystems.

Key words

Dreissena  bugensis Europe Evolution Invasion ecology Speciation 


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We thank Dr. Firdaus Shakirova for providing Dreissena  rostriformis for genetic analyses. This research was supported by Russian Federal Biodiversity and Bioresources programs, Russian Foundation for Basic Research (projects #03-05-65125 and 04-04-49207) and Leading Scientific Schools (grant #123.2003.01), Governmental contract # (to MIO) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (to TWT). We are grateful to two anonymous Reviewers and the Editor for their valuable comments. We thank Dr. Hubert Blatterer for sending images and descriptions of new records of D. r. bugensis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina I. Orlova
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas W. Therriault
    • 2
  • Pavel I. Antonov
    • 3
  • Gregory Kh. Shcherbina
    • 4
  1. 1.Zoological InstituteRussian Academy of ScienceSt. PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Department of Fisheries and Oceans CanadaPacific Biological StationNanaimo, British ColumbiaCanada
  3. 3.Institute of Ecology of the Volga BasinRussian Academy of ScienceTogliattiRussia
  4. 4.Institute of Inland waters BiologyRussian Academy of ScienceBorokRussia

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