Mytilus galloprovincialis

Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819

Common Names

Blaubartmuschel (German), Cozza (Italian), Krambekmossel (Dutch), Mediterranean mussel (English), Mejillón mediterráneo (Castilian), Mexilháo do Mediterrâneo (Portuguese), Middelhavs-blåmusling (Danish), Middellandse-Zeemossel (Dutch), Mitilo (Italian), Mittelmeer-Miesmuschel (German), Moule méditerranéenne (French), Seemuschel (German)

Languages: English

Overview

Brief Summary

The Mediterranean Mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) is native to the Mediterranean, Black, and Adriatic Seas, but has spread (mostly via ballast water and ship hull fouling) to many other regions worldwide. These mussels usually occur in the low intertidal zone of exposed rocky coasts with relatively high wave energy, although in their native range they are also found growing in dense patches on the sandy-muddy bottoms of brackish lagoons (Ceccherelli and Rossi 1984).  Although this species is cultivated as food for humans in some parts of Asia, in most of its non-native range it has become a nuisance species, displacing natives, and the IUCN/SSC* Invasive Species Specialist Group has nominated Mytilus galloprovincialis as among the 100 "World's Worst" invaders.

*International Union for Conservation of Nature, Species Survival Commission

Author(s): Soulanille, Elaine
Rights holder(s): Soulanille, Elaine

Description

Lookalikes

Because the shells of Mytilus species are similar and can vary depending on their environment, it’s difficult or impossible to visually distinguish M. galloprovincialis from Mytilus edulis and Mytilus trossulus.  Furthermore, M. galloprovincialis and M. trossulus can hybridize (Suchanek et al. 1997).  Genetic analyses are necessary to make a positive identification. 

Author(s): Soulanille, Elaine
Rights holder(s): Soulanille, Elaine

Morphology

“Mytilus galloprovincialis is dark blue or brown to almost black. The two shells are equal and nearly quadrangular. The outside is black-violet coloured; on one side the rim of the shell ends with a pointed and slightly bent umbo while the other side is rounded, although shell shape varies by region. It also tends to grow larger than its cousins, up to 15cm, although typically only 5-8cm.”  (IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG))

Author(s): Soulanille, Elaine
Rights holder(s): Soulanille, Elaine

Ecology

Habitat

Marine and estuarine.

“In its native range, M. galloprovincialis can be found from exposed rocky outer coasts to sandy bottoms (Ceccherelli and Rossi 1984). As an invader it typically requires rocky coastlines with a high rate of water flow...(Carlton 1992)." 

(Global Invasive Species Database)

Author(s): Soulanille, Elaine
Rights holder(s): Soulanille, Elaine

Distribution

Native range (alphabetical by country): Algeria, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Egypt, Europe, France, Greece, Italy, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Macedonia, Morocco, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine

"Alien" range (alphabetical by country/region): Africa, Australia, Canada, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Mediterranean, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States (including Hawaii)

(Global Invasive Species Database)

Author(s): Soulanille, Elaine
Rights holder(s): Soulanille, Elaine

References

Branch, G. M., & Steffani N. C. (2004).  Can we predict the effects of alien species? A case-history of the invasion of South Africa by Mytilus galloprovincialis (Lamarck). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 300(1-2), 189 - 215. Abstract
Carlton, J. T. (1992).  Introduced Marine and Esturine Mollusks of North America: An End-of-the-20th-century Perspective. Journal of Shellfish Research. 11, 489-505.
Ceccherelli, V. U., & Rossi R. (1984).  Settlement, growth and production of the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 16, 173-184.
Daguin, C., & Borsa P. (1999).  Genetic characterisation of Mytilus galloprovincialis Lmk. in North West Africa using nuclear DNA markers. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 235(1), 55 - 65. Abstract
Daguin, C., & Borsa P. (2000).  Genetic relationships of Mytilus galloprovincialis Lmk. populations worldwide: evidence from nuclear -DNA markers. Abstract
Daguin, C., & Borsa P. (2000).  Genetic relationships of Mytilus galloprovincialis Lmk. populations worldwide: evidence from nuclear -DNA markers. Bivalve Systematics and Evolution. 117, 389-397. Abstract
Fuentes, J., & Molares J. (1994).  Settlement of the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis on collectors suspended from rafts in the Ría de Arousa (NW of Spain): annual pattern and spatial variability. Aquaculture. 122(1), 55 - 62. Abstract
Fujikura, K., Lindsay D., Kitazato H., Nishida S., & Shirayama Y. (2010).  Marine Biodiversity in Japanese Waters. PLoS ONE. 5(8), e11836.
Fujiwara, Y., Kawato M., Noda C., Kinoshita G., Yamanaka T., Fujita Y., et al. (2010).  Extracellular and Mixotrophic Symbiosis in the Whale-Fall Mussel Adipicola pacifica: A Trend in Evolution from Extra- to Intracellular Symbiosis. PLoS ONE. 5(7), e11808.
Geller, J. B. (1999).  Decline of a Native Mussel Masked by Sibling Species Invasion. Conservation Biology. 13, 661-664. Abstract
Godwin, S. L. (2003).  Hull fouling of maritime vessels as a pathway for marine species invasions to the Hawaiian Islands.. Biofouling. 19 Suppl, 123-31. Abstract
Griffiths, C. L., Robinson T. B., Lange L., & Mead A. (2010).  Marine Biodiversity in South Africa: An Evaluation of Current States of Knowledge. PLoS ONE. 5(8), e12008.
Perkol-Finkel, S., & Airoldi L. (2010).  Loss and Recovery Potential of Marine Habitats: An Experimental Study of Factors Maintaining Resilience in Subtidal Algal Forests at the Adriatic Sea. (Romanuk T., Ed.).PLoS ONE. 5(5), e10791.
Skibinski, D. O. F., Ahmad M., & Beardmore J. A. (1978).  Genetic Evidence for Naturally Occurring Hybrids Between Mytilus edulis and Mytilus galloprovincialis. Evolution. 32, 354-364. Abstract
Suchanek, T. H., Geller J. B., Kreiser B. R., & Mitton J. B. (1997).  Zoogeographic Distributions of the Sibling Species Mytilus galloprovincialis and M. trossulus (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) and Their Hybrids in the North Pacific. Biological Bulletin. 193, 187-194. Abstract
Wonham, M. J. (2004).  Mini-review: distribution of the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis and hybrids in the Northeast Pacific. Journal of Shellfish Research. 23, 535-543. Abstract