BIOTIC Species Information for Mytilus edulis
|Researched by||Lizzie Tyler||Data supplied by||University of Sheffield|
|Refereed by||This information is not refereed.|
|Distribution and Habitat|
|Distribution in Britain & Ireland||Very common all around the coast of the British Isles, with large commercial beds in the Wash, Morecambe Bay, Conway Bay and the estuaries of south-west England, north Wales, and west Scotland.|
|Global distribution||Occurs from the White Sea, south to southern France in the N.E. Atlantic. In the W. Atlantic it extends from the Canadian Maritimes south to North Carolina. It occurs on the coasts of Chile, Argentina, the Falkland Islands and the Kerguelen Isles.|
|Biogeographic range||Not researched||Depth range|
|Migratory||Non-migratory / Resident|
|Distribution Additional Information||Global distribution
Previous records of Mytilus edulis on north African coasts, and in the Mediterranean were probably Mytilus galloprovincialis and Mytilus edulis is absent from the Pacific coast of North America (Gosling, 1992c; Seed, 1992). Previous records of Mytilus edulis from the Pacific coast of North America were probably Mytilus trossulus and/or Mytilus galloprovincialis (Seed, 1992; Seed pers comm.). Mytilus edulis has been reported from Iceland (Varvio et al., 1988). Mytilus edulis occurs on the east and west coasts of South America, and the Falkland Islands (Seed, 1992). Records of mussels form the Kerguelen Islands may be Mytilus edulis (MacDonald et al., 1992; Gosling, 1992c; Seed, 1992).
Factors affecting zonation
The lower limit of distribution is strongly influenced by predation, primarily from starfish but also dog whelks and crabs. For example, on the east coast of England, the starfish Asterias rubens and the dog whelk Nucella lapillus eliminate mussels from the lower intertidal (Seed, 1969). In Ireland, however, the lower limit is probably controlled by the crabs Carcinus sp. and Liocarcinus sp., the dog whelk Nucella lapillus and the starfish Marthasterias glacialis (Kitching & Ebling, 1967).
Daly & Mathieson (1977) reported that the lower limit of Mytilus edulis populations at Bound Rock, USA, was determined by burial or abrasion by shifting sands. Burial or abrasion is probably an additional controlling factor on British coasts where mobile sediment, such as sand, cobbles or boulders, occur (Holt et al., 1998).
Subtidal populations often occur on sea mounts, dock pilings and offshore oil platforms, where they grow to a large size, probably due to the lack of predators (Seed & Suchanek, 1992).
Large to very large boulders
Artificial (e.g. metal/wood/concrete)
Crevices / fissures
|Physiographic preferences||Open coast
Strait / sound
Ria / Voe
Enclosed coast / Embayment
|Biological zone||Upper Eulittoral
|Wave exposure||Very Exposed
|Tidal stream strength/Water flow||Strong (3-6 kn)
Moderately Strong (1-3 kn)
Weak (<1 kn)
|Salinity||Reduced (18-30 psu)
Variable (18-40 psu)
Full (30-40 psu)
|Habitat Preferences Additional Information|
|Distribution References||Fish & Fish, 1996, Hayward & Ryland, 1990, Hayward et al., 1996, Tebble, 1976, Gosling, 1992(c), Varvio et al., 1988, MacDonald et al., 1992, Bayne, 1976b, Seed & Suchanek, 1992, Williams, 1970, Bourget, 1983, Almada-Villela et al., 1982, Seed, 1969b, Kitching & Ebling, 1967, Holt et al., 1998, Daly & Mathieson, 1977, Suchanek, 1978, Almada-Villela, 1984, Clay, 1967(d), Gosling, 1992(a), Seed, 1992, Seed, 1995, Gray et al., 1997, Carter & Seed, 1998, Suchanek, 1985, Hayward & Ryland, 1990,|