Species Account

Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758

Mytiloidea : Mytilidae

Tebble name: Mytilus edulis Linnaeus
Smith & Heppell name: Mytilus edulis L.,1758

To size: To 150mm. Shell Structure: Thin brittle. Equivalve: Equivalve. Equilateral: Inequilateral, beaks terminal on the anterior end. Outline: Mytiliform, narrowly wedge shaped; ligament margin long, straight sloping gently, posterior dorsal curved and posterior rounded; ventral straight then sloping upward to beaks, not hooked.

Sculpture: Comarginal lines and growth stops. Margin: Inner margin smooth. Ligament: External but sunken, extending 2/3 of ligament margin. Hinge: Smooth except for a few crenulations on the anterior ventral extremity. Pallial Musculature: Cojoined posterior and byssus retractor scar large inset from posterior dorsal margin; anterior adductor scar very small obscure. Periostracum: Thin, persistent, devoid of hairs. Colour: Periostracum blue-black to dark brown, some yellowish with bluish rays. Internal white with margins as external.

Distribution & Ecology

Widely distributed on all coasts. Lives in the intertidal and sublittoral on a wide range of habitats from rocky shores to estuaries but spat can be found in large numbers on shelf sediments.

A review with many references on the
Mytilus complex in Europe can be found at http://genimpact.imr.no/__data/page/7650/mussels.pdf.
Also see
Gosling, E. M. 1992. Systematic and geographic distribution of
Mytilus. In Gosling, EM editor. The mussel Mytilus: ecology, physiology, genetics and culture. New York Elsevier. pp. 1–17.

Depth Range
Continental Shelf (to 200m)

Additional Information & Related Species

Additional Comments

It has been shown that edulis and galloprovincialis hybridise and these shells are indeterminate. Although typical galloprovincialis have the high anterior profile and hooked anterior some populations that from molecular data are galloprovincialis have edulis type shells.

Related Species


Listed are literature citing Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758. Reference containing the species Type Description is highlighted.

Bayne B L 1976. Marine mussels; their ecology and physiology no 10. International Biological Programme. Cambridge University Press. 506 pp.
Lewis JR & Seed R 1969. Morphological variations in Mytilus from south-west England in relation to the occurrence of M. galloprovincialis Lmk. Cahiers de biologie marins (Cah. biol. mar.). 10: 231-253.
Linnaeus C 1758. Systema Naturae. Editio decima. 1. Regnum Animale Holmiae, Laurentii Salvii. 824pp.
Seed R 1992. Systematics evolution and distribution of mussels belonging to the genus Mytilus: an overview. American Malacological Bulletin. 9: 123-137.
Verduin A 1979. Conchological evidence for the separate identity of Mytilus edulis L. and M. galloprovincialis Lam.. Basteria. 43: 61-80.


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Record last modified: 22/03/2016