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Sea mussels
Miesmuscheln Mytilus 1.jpg
Two shells of Mytilus edulis washed up on a beach
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Subclass: Pteriomorphia
Order: Mytiloida
Family: Mytilidae
Rafinesque, 1815

32, See text.

The Mytilidae, also known as the sea mussels, are a family of small to large saltwater mussels, marine bivalve mollusks in the order Mytiloida. The order has only this one family which contains 32 genera.

Species in the family Mytilidae are found world-wide, but they are more abundant in colder seas, where they often form uninterrupted beds on rocky shores in the intertidal zone and the shallow subtidal. The subfamily Bathymodiolinae is found in deep-sea habitats.

Mytilids include the well-known edible sea mussels.

A common feature of the shells of mussels is an asymmetrical shell which has a thick, adherent periostracum. The animals attached themselves to a solid substrate using a byssus.


A bed of the edible California mussel, Mytilus californianus.
Mussels and attached barnacles on the Cornish coast near Newquay.

Genera within the family Mytilidae include:[1][2]


  1. ^ "Mytilidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 
  2. ^ Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2006. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed June 25, 2007 at AnimalDiversity
  3. ^ Kenk, V.C. & Wilson, B.R., 1985. A new mussel (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) from hydrothermal vents in the Galapagos Rift zone. Malacologia, 26 (1-2), 253-271. Bathymodilus at fr:Bathymodiolus
  4. ^ accessed 10 january 2010

External links[edit]