Blue mussel

Mytilus edulis

The blue mussel is widely distributed all around Iceland. It is purely a seashore or shallow water species, found from the seashore down to depths of a few metres. It is attached to the bottom by filaments called byssus threads.

It is purely a filter feeder, filtering microscopic phytoplankton from the water. The blue mussel can grow rapidly under favourable conditions and can reach sexual maturity one year old.

Toxins may accumulate in shellfish following algal blooms in the height of summer. Although a rare occurrence in Iceland, this phenomenon must be kept in mind by those who like to collect fresh shellfish for eating whole from the shell. The toxins are most frequently found in the gonads.

Many species of mussels are found all around the world, and many of these are grown in aquaculture. The blue mussel itself is abundant on both sides of the North Atlantic and in the southern hemisphere.


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