Mytilus Edulis - Blue Mussel | Kings Park, New York

© Sophie W. Smith

Joined October 2012

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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Subclass: Pteriomorphia
Order: Mytiloida
Family: Mytilidae
Subfamily: Mytilinae
Genus: Mytilus
Species: M. edulis
Binomial name

The blue mussel (Mytilus edulis), also known as the common mussel, is a medium-sized edible marine bivalve mollusc in the family Mytilidae, the mussels. Blue mussels are subject to commercial use and intensive aquaculture.

Blue mussels are boreo-temperate invertebrates that live in intertidal areas attached to rocks and other hard substrates by strong (and somewhat elastic) thread-like structures called byssal threads, secreted by byssal glands located in the foot of the mussel.

The shape of the shell is triangular and elongate with rounded edges. The shell is smooth with a sculpturing of fine concentric growth lines but no radiating ribs. The shells of this species are purple, blue or sometimes brown in color, occasionally with radial stripes. The outer surface of the shell is covered by the periostracum which as eroded, exposes the colored prismatic calcitic layer. Blue Mussels are semi-sessile, having the ability to detach and reattach to a surface allowing the mollusk to reposition itself relative to the water position. Read more

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