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A small aquatic visitor from across the world may be here in West Texas

The zebra mussel is not the biggest sea creature, but can cause some serious damage to the ecosystem.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — They are the size of your finger nail. They even have a unique black and white band design, which is where their name stems from. 

The zebra mussels and they could be lurking in the waters of West Texas.

Zebra mussels are originally from the Caspian Sea. They were brought over to America and were first found in the Great Lakes.

The mussels traveled down south through the Mississippi River. 

It was reported by Texas Parks and Wildlife they found zebra mussels in the pipes of bodies waters. In fact, TPW found a zebra mussel larva in the water.

The mussels are filter feeders. They filter water in and out, feeding on the plankton in the water, which can lower the productivity in the ecosystem 

"That means less plankton for the small fish, the bait fish which means less food for the larger sport fish that people like to go fishing for," Texas Parks and Wildlife District Fisheries Biologist Lynn Wright said. 

Wright reminds people that it is Texas state law to clean your boat every time it comes out of the water to stop the transportation of the larva. 

"You don't drain the water out and then you travel to a new lake and put your boat in and that is how a lot of infestations start," Wright said. 

There are many ways to clean your boat to rid it of larva. You can use a mixture of bleach and soap and it will kill them on contact. 

"You can wash your boat out with hot-soapy water over a 140-degrees and that will kill zebra mussels," Wright said. 

Wright encourages everyone to report any sightings of zebra mussels to Texas Parks and Wildlife, and to remember they are on the Texas prohibited list, meaning they are not allowed to be transported, dead or alive.