PORT PHILLIP BAY


Blue Sea Mussel 

Mytilus edulis Linne`, 1758

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

This large and diverse family is represented in Victoria by approximately 20 species. Some species are gregarious and may be the most conspicuous animals on the sea shore. Mussels are characterised by an elongate shell, with the umbo situated at the anterior end, with the posterior area expanded, hinge teeth often not evident. Most species have a well developed, thick periostracum, and are attached to the substrate by a byssus.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Mollusca
Subphylum:
Conchifera
Class:
Bivalvia
Subclass:
Pteriomorphia
Order:
Mytiloida
Family:
Mytilidae
Genus:
Mytilus
Species:
edulis

Other Names

  • Edible Mussel

General Description

Shell wedge shaped with rounded apex (umbo) near anterior end. Valve posterior is expanded and rounded. Exterior is smooth, except for concentric growth lines (striae). Outer shell colour black to purple-blue black (juveniles maybe brown), inner shell white to blue-white. Shell up to 12 cm across.

Biology

This species is closely related to the European edible mussel and has been assigned sub-species status of that mussel. Individuals attach by threads (byssus) to pier pylons, rocks and sandy sea floors. Their distribution is limited by water temperature and salinity. They are commercially harvested, are an important indicator species of heavy metal pollution, and can grow rapidly, sometimes reaching 9 cm in a year. Specimens can live for up to 25 years. Small pea crabs are often found living inside the two shell halves.

Habitat

Various habitats including estuaries and sheltered marine areas, from low tide area to depth of 15 m.

Coastal shores

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Sea snails and shells Bivalves

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

12 cm

Diet

Organic matter

Commercial Species

No

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Boyd, S.

Sue Boyd is an Honorary Associate in marine invertebrates at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Boyd, S., 2011, Blue Sea Mussel, Mytilus edulis, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 27 Jun 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/5626

Text: creative commons cc by licence