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Miesmuscheln Mytilus 1.jpg
Two shells of Mytilus edulis washed up on a beach
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Order: Mytilida
Superfamily: Mytiloidea
Family: Mytilidae
Rafinesque, 1815

52, See text

Mytilidae are a family of small to large marine and brackish-water bivalve molluscs in the order Mytilida. One of the genera, Limnoperna, even inhabits freshwater environments. The order has only this one family which contains some 52 genera.[1]

Species in the family Mytilidae are found worldwide, 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 attach themselves to a solid substrate using a byssus.

A 2020 study of the phylogeny of Mytilidae recovered two main clades derived from an epifaunal ancestor, with subsequent lineages shifting to other lifestyles, and correlating convergent evolution of siphon traits.[2]


A bed of the edible California mussel, Mytilus californianus
Mussels and attached barnacles on the Cornish coast near Newquay
Mytilus (Falcimytilus) jurensis from the Middle Jurassic (Callovian) Matmor Formation of southern Israel

Genera within the family Mytilidae include:[1]


  1. ^ a b Bouchet, P. (2014).Mytilidae Rafinesque, 1815 World Register of Marine Species
  2. ^ Audino, Jorge A.; Serb, Jeanne M.; Marian, José Eduardo A. R. (2020). "Phylogeny and anatomy of marine mussels (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) reveal convergent evolution of siphon traits". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 190 (2): 592–612. doi:10.1093/zoolinnean/zlaa011.

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