Mytilus Click to enlarge image
Blue Mussel, Genus Mytilus Image: Dr Isobel Bennett
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Genus
    Mytilus
    Family
    Mytilidae
    Order
    Mytiloida
    Class
    Bivalvia
    Phylum
    Mollusca
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    10 cm

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

Identification

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

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'.

Distribution

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

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 history 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.