Animal Species:Blue mussels

Blue mussels are edible bivalves commonly served in restaurants and sold at local fish shops.

Blue Mussels on Rock

Dr Isobel Bennett © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Blue mussels

Identification

Blue mussel shells are blue in colour and covered by a black outer layer.

Size range

10 cm

Distribution

Blue mussels are found in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia. They are also widespread overseas.

Habitat

Blue mussels live in intertidal areas to a depth of 15 m, as well as estuaries, oceans and coastal waters.

They are commonly found in intertidal estuaries and seagrass beds. They are also often seen attached to wharf pylons, using their tough 'byssal threads'.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Some Blue mussels were probably introduced to Australia by ships arriving from Europe. They have been cultivated for hundreds of years overseas and are now grown commercially in Australia.

Life cycle

The life expectancy of Blue mussels can be up to 15 years but adverse environmental conditions such as pollution will reduce their size and life spans.

Classification

Genus:
Mytilus
Family:
Mytilidae
Order:
Mytiloida
Class:
Bivalvia
Phylum:
Mollusca
Kingdom:
Animalia

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Tags bivalves, bivalvia, wildlife of sydney, invertebrates, mollusca, identification,