Mytilus galloprovincialis

Blue mussel | Mytilus edulis
Mytilus galloprovincialis
Mytilus galloprovincialis, Eden, NSW, Photo: Andrew Green


Mediterranean, Temperate Australasia


Large fan-shaped mussel with a bluish black exterior and bluish white interior. It is the only local mussel grown commercially and is commonly served in restaurants. There is still much confusion about the scientific name of this mussel as it was originally thought to be a species restricted to Australia named M. planulatus. However, genetic studies indicate very close linkage to the European mussel M. galloprovincialis for animals analysed, so the species now carries that older name. What has possibly happened is that two mussels are actually present, an introduced European mussel dominant in estuaries and a native Australian mussel now largely restricted to the open coast, but with some cross-breeding between the two.


Max Size: 12 cm

Sea Temperature Range: 14.5-21.9°C

Depth: 0-15m

Habitat Generalization Index: N/A

Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.

Conservation and Rarity

IUCN Status: Not Evaluated

Occurrence: Infrequent (1.4% of sites)

Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed

Abundance: Many (47 per transect)

Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.

Edit by: GJ Edgar. 2008. Australian Marine Life. New Holland, Sydney