Zebra mussels are not native to Allen County, they are actually from Europe. They are a hearty species of mussels that reproduce quickly and can harm native creatures in the river. Zebra mussels can quickly take over a body of water. They cover everything, including each other. Though these mussels arent toxic to humans, they can clog your boat motor, and kill off native species in lakes and rivers. Warren Pryor is a Biology Professor at the University of St. Francis. He was also the person who found the first Zebra Mussel. He says “The Zebra Mussels eat the same food as these guys and they are more efficient so they can compete with our native mussels for food. And what we have seen in the Detroit area is these native mussels being driven to extinction.” Professor Pryor and two of his students found the Zebra Mussel along the St. Joseph River, near the Jonny Appleseed Park. He says he just happened to see it. Pryor says “Zebra Mussels dont get much larger than a quarter of an inch. A fresh water mussel will get easily 4 to 5 inches long.” The Zebra Mussel is much smaller than our native mussels, and has an obvious zebra stripe pattern. Pryor says “Statistically speaking, I probably just found one, and there are likely to be others.” Zebra mussels move from one body of water to another by attaching themselves to boats. The Department of Natural Resources say now that theyre in Allen County, theyre not going anywhere. Nathan Thomas the Assistant Fishery Biologist for the Department of Natural Resources says “ Because they reproduce so quickly they can spread very fast. One adult can have up to half a million babies. Even one zebra mussel on your equipment could mean them moving to another body of water.” Boaters can help prevent the spread of the mussels by wiping down the bottom of their boats with bleach, and emptying water out of the motor before boating in another body of water. There is no good was to get rid of these mussels. Putting poison in the river to kill them off will also put native species in danger.