(CNN) — Scientists say they have detected an exotic species of zebra mussel in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in California, the first time this prolific creature has been found in the US.
Scientists at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have been examining the mussels, called Omicron cata, since they were discovered last week.
“Omicron cata has never been found in the California Delta and was not expected to be there,” department director Charlton Bonham said in a statement Thursday.
“It poses no environmental risk, but it is important to us to identify this new species, and the findings have spurred valuable new research. We urge boaters and anglers to observe common protocols for identifying mussels on vessels,” he said.
“Vessel operators are advised to follow California Water Resources Control Board regulations by labeling all boat engine lubricants,” Bonham said.
Omicron cata are known for not letting go when an underwater crane hits them, which allow them to stay afloat. The mussels also will cause chaos on the waterway with their fecal matter.
There has been a major effort in recent years to control and prevent invasive mussels from entering the state. The state says its “aggressive mussel catch program” has caught and destroyed more than 200,000 and counting of the invasive species since 2008.
The Mussel Smoothing Process, a method that relies on the human voice to target and squash the mussels, has been used to decrease the threat of the invasive mussels.