Mussels – meet the natural water filters!

That’s right! Mussels are the nature’s way to filter water. A large mussel can filter up to 10 gallons of water every day. How does it do that? Read on to find out more.

Mussels are fresh and seawater organisms and are a member of the clams or bivalve molluscs family, which filter the water around them by feeding on plankton, microscopic plants, and animals.


Mussel bed in the ocean

Mussel bed in the ocean

The difference between clams and mussels is that mussels have an irregular shell while clams have a uniform oval or round shell. They are found in most coastal areas around the world and because of a unique mechanism, where they can close their shell to avoid drying if left out of water, mussels can be found in water as shallow as 10 meters.


Typically, mussels are orange if they are females and pale white if they are males and only fresh water mussels make pearls. Mussels grow a beard called byssus, which they use to firmly attach themselves and other mussels to the ocean bed or rocks; this is how mussel beds are made. They also use the byssus attached at the end of the strong foot to move by extending it and attaching it to the ocean floor and then shortening it gradually as they move forward.


Mussel with its strong foot and byssus

Mussel with its strong foot and byssus

We already told you that mussels feed on plankton, and microscopic plants and animals around them in the water. This happens exactly when the mussels ingest or take in the edible particles from their breathable water and transports them to the digestive track. The parts that they cannot digest are then excreted back into the water. This is also a big reason of a lot of loss of mussel life by water pollution. Interestingly, mussels reproduce in a similar fashion too.


During the spring season, each female mussel releases around 5 to 12 million eggs into water where the males in the vicinity fertilize them. The fertilized egg cell called the trachophora larva will then develop into a veliger larva, which then develops into a juvenile mussel of about 3 mm in size.

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Scientific classification of Mussels





Scientific Classification

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