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Ontario Mussels

Some facts about Ontario mussels

41 freshwater mussel species live in Ontario rivers and lakes.

Freshwater mussels are important parts of aquatic ecosystems as they clean the water and are a food source for other animals.

They also act as "bioindicators" for humans as their health is directly related to the health of the ecosystem.

Unfortunately, over 65% of these species are endangered in Ontario as a result of habitat loss, pollution, and competition from invasive zebra mussels.

Mussel Life Cycle




Mussels use fish to move their larvae ("glochidia") downstream

Some species have adapted their tissues to look like small fish or insects, known as "lures", which attract larger fish.

Mussel larvae attach to the gills of fish and transform into juveniles.

These juveniles then drop off the fish and begin their lives as filter feeders. They feed on algae and other particles from the surrounding water.

Get involved!

Public awareness and information about abundances and locations of freshwater mussels is crucial to prevent further population losses of these important species.

Do you think you may have spotted a freshwater mussel? If so, please record details of your experience! Coming soon to this page will be a link to an online survey to input your findings. Information from this survey will be shared with partner organizations to determine the status of freshwater mussel populations and to supplement conservation programs and initiatives. With your help, we can provide a safer and cleaner environment for these fascinating creatures!

Ontario mussels would like to thank our partners:



Species at Risk Stewardship Fund




Rouge Park