Zebra Muscle (Dreissena Polymorpha)

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Name: Zebra Mussel (Dreissena Polymorpha)zebra muscle

Size: 80 microns to 45 millimeters

Description: Organism is characterized by a light and dark varying stripped pattern resembling zebra stripes on two connected hard shells.

NO! We have not seen Zebra Mussels in Canyon Lake yet. BUT this alert is to help you become more aware that they do exist in some Texas Lakes. Please click on the link below to go to the Texas Parks and WIldlife web page that deals directly with the Zebra Mussel.

To see more pictures of the mussel, go to Google and type in ZEBRA MUSSELS. Then click Enter. You will find hundreds of pictures of the mussel and how destructive it is to local environments. This little mussel can destroy an environment quickly.

INSPECT, CLEAN and DRY your boats FIRST before getting in Canyon Lake from another lake. All it takes is 1 mussel to start the downward spiral of the lake. Help Keep the lake clean of Zebra Mussels.

If you see anything that resembles a mussel like this, please call us immediately so we can verify the species correctly.



Chinese Tallow Tree (Triadica sebifera)

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Name: Chinese Tallow Tree (Triadica sebifera)*Tallow Tree

Type: Deciduous tree

Description: A small to medium-sized tree with a crooked trunk 12" to 18" in diameter and a height to 50 feet at maturity.

YES!!! We do have many Chinese Tallow Trees around the lake, up stream and down stream of Canyon Lake. Eradication of the tree is difficult, but if you follow expert advice, it can be removed from your propert to prevent spreading and blocking lake access and the veiw of the lake.

Range/Site Description: Native of Japan and China, tallowtree is now found in yards, pastures, fencerows, and other unmaintained areas throught coastal and southeast Texas. Tolerates all soil conditions, but not cold-hardy in North or West Texas.

Leaf: Simple, alternate, 2" to 4" long, generally triangular, with a wedge-shaped leaf base and a long, pointed tip; leaf edge smooth. Fall color varies from yellow, orange, red, and purple, sometimes on the same tree.

Tallow Flower


Flower: A long, yellow spike of flowers, 8" to 10" long, appearing after the leaves in the spring.



Tallow Seed Pod

Seed Pod : Dark gray, 0.5" diameter, three-parted seed clusters open to reveal white, popcorn-likewaxy seeds in late fall or winter. Birds eat and spread the seeds. Not for human consumption!


Bark: Tan and bumpy when young, developing flattened ridges that flake outward on older trunks to give a slightly shaggy appearance.

Wood: Wood is weak and soft, decays easily. Seeds can be harvested for the waxy coating to make soaps and fuel oil.

Similar Species: Native shrub coralbean (Erythrina herbacea) has similar leaves, but fruit is a pod. Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) occurs only in the highest mountains of West Texas.

History: First introduced to the Gulf coast by the USDA in the 1900's to develop a soap-making industry from the seeds.

To see more pictures of the tree, go to Google and type in Chinese Talloww. Then click Enter. You will find hundreds of pictures and how destructive it is to local environments. It is beautiful in the fall when changing colors, but the seeds can travel along distance in water and start new growth any place the seed stops. Please do not plant the tree, and try to eliminate it if you find it on your property. If it is on Corps property, call us and we will take a look and varify.

*All informaton pulled from following location on the Texas A&M website http://texastreeid.tamu.edu/content/TreeDetails/?id=115




Armored Catfish (Hypostomus plecostomus)

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Armored Catfish 


The armored catfishes (Family: Loricariidae) are algivorous, mostly nocturnal, with a noticeable sucker located ventrally on the head. Loricariids can range in size from 3 inches to over three feet in adequate conditions. Their flattened ventral surface allows the fish to use their suckers on most substrates. The adipose fin has a spine and pectoral fins have thick, toothed spines that are used in male-male competition and locomotion.

Ecological Threat: With the over-abundance of Loricariids in freshwater ecosystems, local indigenous species can be out-competed and reduced. This could lead to a collapse of freshwater fisheries in addition to the obvious ecological dangers. While the Loricariids were introduced to control algae populations, it is unknown how effective these fish actually are at controlling them.

Biology: Loricariids are cavity builders and can lay more than 300 eggs in their nests. Males guard the nest and the eggs hatch within 4 to 20 days depending on the species. In addition to their successful breeding strategies, Loricariids are hearty fish that can withstand a wide range of ecological conditions. In fact, the fish can gulp air and survive out of water for more than 30 hours.

History: Loricariids otherwise known as plecos are naturally found in tropical South America, Panama, and Costa Rica. However, their range is increasing due to accidental and intentional human introductions throughout the world. Loricariids are frequently released into freshwater bodies in the United States and throughout the world by natural resource managers to remove algae and control aquatic plants. However, their effectiveness in controlling algal and plant growth in natural systems is undocumented. Plecos are also common in the aquarium trade. Perhaps the most ubiquitous species, Hypostomus plecostomus, was found in Texas at the San Antonio River in 2000 and has maintained an obvious presence with a stable population ever since. Hypostomus plecostomus has also been found in Nevada, Hawaii, and isolated specimens from Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana and Pennsylvania have been collected. Hypostomus plecostomus is the most geographically widespread of the Loricariids.

U.S. Habitat: Loricariids can be found in most freshwater habitats in tropical Costa Rica, Panama, and South America, but many species have small natural ranges. They can also be found in some brackish water habitats. Most loricariids are nocturnal. Armored catfish eat algae, invertebrates, and detritus however, there is one genus, Panaque, that is known for eating wood.


*From http://www.texasinvasives.org/animal_database/detail.php?symbol=9

Text References

Podkowa, Dagmara, and Lucyna Goniakowska-Witalińska. "Morphology of the air-breathing stomach of the catfish Hypostomus plecostomus." Journal of Morphology. 257.2 (2003): 147–163.

Power, Mary. "Resource Enhancement by Indirect Effects of Grazers: Armored Catfish, Algae, and Sediment." Ecology. 71.3 (1990): 897-904.

Shafland, P. L. "The Continuing Problem of Non-Native Fishes in Florida." Fisheries. 1.6 (1976): 25

Online References:


Dan Foley, PhD. - Sul Ross State University - Rio Grande College - dfoley@sulross.edu
Krista Capps - plecoinvasion@gmail.com




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Don't forget to be safe while spending time in the greatest natural resource (Canyon Lake) we provide.