Species Account

Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819

Mytiloidea : Mytilidae

Tebble name: n/a
Smith & Heppell name: Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1818

To size: To 150mm. Shell Structure: Thin but robust. Equivalve: Equivalve. Equilateral: Inequilateral, beaks terminal on the anterior end. Outline: Mytiliform, wedge shaped; ligament margin long, straight sloping steeply, posterior dorsal and posterior margins a broad curve or posterior dorsal straight; ventral straight but hooked at the anterior extremity.

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. Internal white with margins as external.

Distribution & Ecology

The Mediterranean Mussel is known from identifiable populations in SW England, SW Ireland and S Wales. Hybridization with M. edulis renders many populations indeterminate but it is probable that M. galloprovincialis ranges along the entire west coast to the Outer Hebrides and perhaps into the North Sea: see <http://genimpact.imr.no/__data/page/7650/mussels.pdf>

Lives in the intertidal and sublittoral.

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 galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819. Reference containing the species Type Description is highlighted.

Hepper BT 1957. Notes on Mytilus galloprovincialis Lmk. in Great Britain. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 36: 33-40.
Lamarck J B P A de M 1819. Histoire naturelle des Animaux sans vertèbres 6. Paris. 612pp.
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.
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