Home > Invertebrates > Bivalves > Mytilus edulis complex

Updated 2/20/13

Family Mytilidae


Mytilus edulis    EUROPEAN BLUE MUSSEL

Mytilus galloprovincialis   MEDITERRANEAN BLUE MUSSEL

Mytilus trossulus   PACIFIC BLUE MUSSEL

Intertidal zone, Victoria, Canada


Dock debris, Makapu'u, Oahu

Dock debris, Makapu'u, Oahu


Clusters are abundant in shallow quiet bays, harbors, and exposed coasts.  Shells only have fine concentric growth rings.  Attains 5 inches.  Species are virtually impossible to distinguish by shell structure.  Intentional importation for culture along with dispersal via ballast water and manmade structures has resulted in hybridization with native species in some areas.

Mytilus edulis is native to the North Atlantic and introduced to Puget Sound and the Georgia Strait.

Mytilus trossulus is native to temperate & cold waters of the Arctic Ocean and North Pacific south to San Francisco.

Mytilus galloprovincialis is native to warm temperate waters of SW Europe.  It was introduced to the West Coast of North America, East Asia, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  It has replaced native M. trossulus south of San Francisco and hybridizes with it in WA and BC.

More information on Blue Mussel distribution