OATA has updated its advice for retailers and hobbyists about how to ensure moss balls imported into the UK are not carrying an infestation of zebra mussels.
There have been incidences reported in countries such as the USA, Sweden, and the UK where the invasive non-native species, Zebra mussel (Dressena polymorpha) has been found within Marimo (Cladophora) moss balls. Although these moss balls are sold for use in aquariums, we are also aware they are also being sold by artisanal sellers for use in terrariums or as decorative features e.g., jewellery.
The updated information leaflet aims to provide guidance in relation to such moss balls, how to identify Zebra mussels, what measures should be taken if you find them and precautionary decontamination procedures to minimise any risk of such mussels entering our natural watercourses and harming our native habitats and species. Although these occurrences have been infrequent, suppliers, retailers and hobbyists must be vigilant to this potential threat.