Many scientists fear that the tiny golden mussel, a mussel specie from China,might be threatening one of the world’s most delicate ecosystems – the Amazon River and the Basin. Arriving in South America inthe first half of the 1990s, the golden mussel has already spread its reach over vast areas of indigenous fauna and flora. The golden mussel, measuring one inch long,is a toughcreature that reproduces nine months ina year. It releases a large number of microscopic larvae into the water, which then get transferred to new areas. These are found not only on rocky surfaces like stones, bedrocks of rivers but even on artificial structures and are also known to form enormous reef-like constructions.
Golden musselcausing loss to businesses along with damage to indigenous flora and fauna
Regarding its destructive abilities, theyare said to have destroyed indigenous clam species by binding themselves onto the native mollusks. They have also caused extensive damage to water treatment and hydroelectric plants in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Argentina. As a result, many plant operators have been forced to spend large amounts of money to clean up clogged pipes as well close down turbines to dig out massive mussel formations. The words of Professor Hugh MacIsaac of University of Windsor says its best:”You clearly want to keep these out of the Amazon because if they were to get in, the potential consequences are very significant,”
Brazilian government is working on several programs to tackle the problem
For the past ten years, the Brazilian government has been working on various programs including the development of “bio bullets” to stop the growth of the golden mussel. The thought is similar to the endeavorto battle dengue causing mosquitoes by sterilizing them. “If we manage it, it would be huge obviously from an economic point of view but also to protect biodiversity,” claims Marcela Uliano da Silva a research scientist.