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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 28 May, 2020

  • 5 Min Read

Charu Mussel

Invasive mussel spreads in backwaters

  • An invasive mussel native to the South and Central American coasts is spreading quickly in the backwaters of Kerala, elbowing out other mussel and clam species and threatening the livelihoods of fishermen engaged in molluscan fisheries.
  • The rapid spread of the Charru mussel (Mytella strigata) may have been triggered by Cyclone Ockhi which struck the region in 2017, according to a paper published in the Journal of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries.

Worst-hit

  • Surveys show the presence of the Charru mussel in the Kadinamkulam, Paravur, Edava-Nadayara, Ashtamudi, Kayamkulam, Vembanad, Chettuva and Ponnani estuaries/backwaters.
  • Ashtamudi Lake, a Ramsar site in Kollam district, remains the worst-hit. With a population as high as 11,384 per sq metre here, it has replaced the Asian green mussel (Perna viridis) and the edible oyster Magallana bilineata (known locally as muringa).
  • Externally, the Charru mussel resembles the green and brown mussels (kallummekka in Malayalam), but is much smaller in size. Its colour varies from black to brown, purple or dark green.
  • In all probability, the mussel reached the Indian shores attached to ship hulls or as larval forms in ballast water discharges.

Solution

There is also a need to promote studies on invasion biology and strengthen awareness on marine invasive species.

Source: TH


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