BIOTIC Species Information for Mytilus edulis
Researched byLizzie Tyler Data supplied byUniversity of Sheffield
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
Scientific nameMytilus edulis Common nameCommon mussel
MCS CodeW1695 Recent SynonymsNone

PhylumMollusca Subphylum
Superclass ClassPelecypoda
Subclass OrderMytiloida
Suborder FamilyMytilidae
GenusMytilus Speciesedulis

Additional InformationMytilus edulis and Mytilus galloprovincialis often occur in the same location in the northern range of Mytilus galloprovincialis. As they both show great variation in shell shape due to environmental conditions (Seed, 1968, 1992), they are often difficult to distinguish. In addition, they may hybridize. However, in Mytilus galloprovincialis:
  • the umbones turn down, giving the basal line of the shell a concave appearance;
  • the valves are higher and less angular;
  • the mantle edges are darker, becoming blue or purple, and
  • Mytilus galloprovincialis tends to grow larger (Tebble, 1976).
Note no single morphological characteristic can be used to separate Mytilus species (Gosling, 1992c; Seed, 1992, 1995). Recent evidence suggests that there are only three lineages of the genus, Mytilus edulis, Mytilus galloprovincialis and Mytilus trossulus, although some authorities suggest that all of the smooth shelled mussels belong to the same species (for discussion see Seed, 1992).
Taxonomy References Fish & Fish, 1996, Hayward & Ryland, 1990, Hayward et al., 1996, Tebble, 1976, Gosling, 1992(c), Bayne, 1976b, Clay, 1967(d), Gosling, 1992(a), Seed, 1992, Seed, 1995, Seed, 1968,
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