Pondweeds

Pondweeds

The islands of Britain and Ireland have over 40 species or hybrids of pondweeds (genus Potamogeton). This diversity in pondweed is one of the highest in Europe with most European species being represented. Unfortunately local diversity and abundance of pondweeds have declined over the 20th Century, as a result of habitat destruction and pollution. The Upper Lough Erne region and The Broads are two areas of importance for the conservation of pondweed – but “what can we learn from these strongholds?” and “what measure could enhance their recovery nationally?” are questions we are trying to address part of the Lake BESS project. (Photo by Ambroise Baker: P. polygonifolius in full bloom).

Zebra mussel from Kilturk Lough

Zebra mussel from Kilturk Lough

But is it a zebra or is it a butterfly? Project partner Jorge Salgado suggests: “It’s a unique butterfly species with mussel wings that only inhabits the the Upper Lough Erne.”

Zebra mussel is an invasive mussel that was first observed in Ireland in 1997 but is now becoming widespread. It can use native mussel shells as substrate, as shown on this photograph taken by Jorge Salgado.

You can read about Zebra mussel in Northern Ireland in a this Zebra Mussel Management Strategy report.