Mytilus edulis


One of our most familiar bivalves (two shells that clamp together), the Common Mussel lives on rocky, sandy or muddy shores, from the low tide mark well out to sea. It forms large, dense 'beds' of mussels which, when exposed at low tide, are a favourite hunting ground for oystercatchers. The Common Mussel is a filter feeder, filtering detritus and plankton from the water.

How to identify

A very familiar shell, triangular or oval shaped and black-blue in colour.

Where to find it

Found all around our coasts.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Mussels filter water and tend to accumulate harmful chemicals in their tissues, making them a good indicator of the health of our seas. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Mytilus edulis
Length: 7cm Average Lifespan: 2-3 years
Conservation status