- Range depth
- 1 to 10 m
- 3.28 to 32.81 ft
- Sexual Dimorphism
- female larger
- Range mass
- 1.4 to 6.5 g
- 0.05 to 0.23 oz
- Range length
- 2 to 20 cm
- 0.79 to 7.87 in
- Average length
- 5-10 cm
After the egg is fertilized it turns into a ciliated trocophore larva. The trochophore larva then becomes a veliger, which persists 1 to 1.5 months. In this phase, the larva bears ciliated fan-like protrusions and filter feeds before becoming a juvenile and finding a primary settlement location. The primary settlement location is often located in openings in the substrata, or amongst bryozoans or other filamentous structures and often situated away from mature mussels, presumably to decrease competition. After weeks there, the juvenile has doubled in size and detaches to drift again and find a permanent substrate to which to attach. The young adult will attach to the sea floor with a byssus thread or, if such open substrate is not stable, may attach to another mussel, creating a mussel bed. (Nordsieck, 2006; Tyler-Walters and Seed, 2006)
- Mating System
- polygynandrous (promiscuous)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- broadcast (group) spawning
- Breeding interval
- Reproductive output is influenced by temperature, food availability, and tidal exposure and can therefore vary from year to year and from place to place.
- Breeding season
- Blue mussels generally breed during the spring to late summer.
- Range number of offspring
- 5000000 to 40000000
- Average number of offspring
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 1 to 2 years
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 1 to 2 years
There is no parental care after fertilization.
- Parental Investment
- no parental involvement
- Range lifespan
- 18 to 24 years
- Range lifespan
Communication and Perception
Blue mussels have statocysts to aid in geo-positioning and orientation. Blue mussels have chemoreceptors capable of detecting the release of gametes. These chemoreceptors also help juvenile blue mussels avoid settling temporarily on substrata near mature blue mussle, presumably to decrease competition for food. (Conservation Management Institute, 2001; Nordsieck, 2006; Tyler-Walters and Seed, 2006)
- Communication Channels
- Animal Foods
- Plant Foods
- Other Foods
- Foraging Behavior
Some predators of (Nordsieck, 2006)wait until the mussel is forced to open its valves to breathe. The predator then pushes the mussel's siphon into the gap, wedging the mussel open so it can be eaten.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
People harvest blue mussels as food and they are used in commercial aquaculture. Blue mussels are considered an important food source in some coastal areas and the shells are used in jewelry manufacturing. Blue mussels also help limit algae growth, which has become problematic in the Mediterranean Sea and elsewhere. (Conservation Management Institute, 2001; Nordsieck, 2006; Tyler-Walters and Seed, 2006)
- Positive Impacts
- research and education
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
There are no known adverse effects ofon humans.
is fairly common and is abundant in many coastal areas and has therefore not been placed on any conservation list or given any special status.
Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Craig Zagata (author), Rutgers University, Christy Young (author), Rutgers University, Joanne Sountis (author), Rutgers University, Melanie Kuehl (author), Rutgers University, David Howe (editor, instructor), Rutgers University .
- Atlantic Ocean
the body of water between Africa, Europe, the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), and the western hemisphere. It is the second largest ocean in the world after the Pacific Ocean.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
- Pacific Ocean
body of water between the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), Australia, Asia, and the western hemisphere. This is the world's largest ocean, covering about 28% of the world's surface.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
- brackish water
areas with salty water, usually in coastal marshes and estuaries.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.
used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.
- colonial growth
animals that grow in groups of the same species, often refers to animals which are not mobile, such as corals.
an animal that mainly eats decomposed plants and/or animals
particles of organic material from dead and decomposing organisms. Detritus is the result of the activity of decomposers (organisms that decompose organic material).
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
an area where a freshwater river meets the ocean and tidal influences result in fluctuations in salinity.
- external fertilization
fertilization takes place outside the female's body
union of egg and spermatozoan
a method of feeding where small food particles are filtered from the surrounding water by various mechanisms. Used mainly by aquatic invertebrates, especially plankton, but also by baleen whales.
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
- indeterminate growth
Animals with indeterminate growth continue to grow throughout their lives.
- intertidal or littoral
the area of shoreline influenced mainly by the tides, between the highest and lowest reaches of the tide. An aquatic habitat.
referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
photosynthetic or plant constituent of plankton; mainly unicellular algae. (Compare to zooplankton.)
an animal that mainly eats plankton
the regions of the earth that surround the north and south poles, from the north pole to 60 degrees north and from the south pole to 60 degrees south.
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
- saltwater or marine
mainly lives in oceans, seas, or other bodies of salt water.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
non-motile; permanently attached at the base.
Attached to substratum and moving little or not at all. Synapomorphy of the Anthozoa
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
animal constituent of plankton; mainly small crustaceans and fish larvae. (Compare to phytoplankton.)
FAO Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service (FIRI). 2006. "Fisheries Global Information System (FIGIS)" (On-line). Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme - Mytilus edulis. Accessed December 12, 2006 at http://www.fao.org/figis/servlet/static?dom=culturespecies&xml=Mytilus_edulis.xml.
Conservation Management Institute, 2001. "Fish and Wildlife Information Exchange (FWIE)" (On-line). Marine and Coastal Species Information System. Accessed December 12, 2006 at http://fwie.fw.vt.edu/WWW/macsis/lists/M060008.htm.
Nordsieck, R. 2006. "The Living World of Molluscs" (On-line). The Common Mussel (Mytilus edulis). Accessed December 12, 2006 at http://www.weichtiere.at/Mollusks/Muscheln/miesmuschel.html.
Tyler-Walters, H., R. Seed. 2006. "The Marine Life Information Network" (On-line). Accessed December 01, 2006 at http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/Mytilusedulis.htm.