Mytilus galloprovincialis (Mediterranean mussel)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Distribution Table
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Environmental Impact
- Impact: Biodiversity
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819
Preferred Common Name
- Mediterranean mussel
Other Scientific Names
- Mytilus edulis form galloprovincialis
- Mytilus edulis galloprovincialis
International Common Names
- English: black mussel; blue mussel; common mussel; edible mussel; European mussel; mussel
- Spanish: mejillón; mejillón Mediterráneo
- French: moule; moule commune; moule Méditerranéenne
- Arabic: tamr el bahr
Local Common Names
- Canada: gallo mussel
- Croatia: dagnja
- Germany: Miesmuschel; Mittelmeer-Miesmuschel
- Greece: mýdi
- Israel: zidpit galit
- Italy: mitilo
- Spain: clotxina; musclo
- Turkey: midye
- Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro): dagnja
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
The Mediterranean mussel, M. galloprovincialis, has been unintentionally introduced to various regions around the world outside of its native Mediterranean range, both through shipping and cultivation. M. galloprovincialis is considered highly invasive due to its quick rate of spread and its ability to displace and outcompete native mussels.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Mollusca
- Class: Bivalvia
- Subclass: Pteriomorphia
- Order: Mytiloida
- Unknown: Mytiloidea
- Family: Mytilidae
- Genus: Mytilus
- Species: Mytilus galloprovincialis
DescriptionTop of page
All Mytilus have distinctive shells ranging in colouration from black with blue or purplish hues to dark brown and occasionally light brown. Although M. galloprovincialis differs in shape from other Mytilus species, in practice analyses of multiple morphological characters in combination (i.e. morphometrics) are most frequently used to reliably distinguish M. galloprovincialis from other Mytilus species (McDonald, 1991; Beaumont, 2008; Gardner and Thompson, 2009). In Puget Sound (Pacific North America), Elliot et al. (2008) report that ratios of shell height to length can be used to identify M. galloprovincialis and M. trossulus. In the Sea of Japan, Semenikhina et al. (2008) describe morphological differences between M. galloprovincialis and M. trossulus larvae.
DistributionTop of page
Delineating the exact range of M. galloprovincialis is complicated by the lack of reliable morphological differences and by hybridization with other Mytilus species. For example, in France, Britain and Ireland M. galloprovincialis is sympatric with M. edulis and the two interbreed (Gosling, 1992). Outside of its native range, M. galloprovincialis is known to hybridize with M. trossulus in the Pacific (Rawson and Hilbish, 1995; Brannock et al., 2009). In Chile, Australia, and New Zealand there is evidence for two distinct types of mussels, one of which is M. galloprovincialis (Hilbish et al., 2000; Gérard et al., 2008), but whether or not they are hybridizing is unknown.
M. galloprovincialis is cultivated in Albania, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, France, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine (Hickman, 1992; FIGIS, 2005), Canada (J Shields, University of Queensland, Australia, personal communication, 2010), and in the Scottish lakes (Beaumont, 2008). Because of the difficulties in identifying M. galloprovincialis, it is likely that some farms may be inadvertently rearing M. galloprovincialis in addition to native Mytilus species. Aquaculture facilities may use new techniques to produce triploid and tetraploid mussels, which are functionally sterile, thereby eliminating the risk of wild populations establishing (McEnnulty et al., 2001).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Mediterranean and Black Sea||Present||Native||Gosling, 1992|
|China||Present||McDonald et al., 1990|
|-Hong Kong||Present||Introduced||Lee and Morton, 1985; DIAS, 2005|
|Japan||Present||Introduced||Wilkins et al., 1983; DIAS, 2005; Brannock et al., 2009|
|Korea, Republic of||Present||Introduced||Daguin and Borsa, 2000|
|Morocco||Present||Native||Hickman, 1992; Comesana et al., 1998|
|South Africa||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Grant and Cherry, 1985; ISSG, 2005|
|Canada||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-British Columbia||Present||Introduced||Heath et al., 1995; Wonham, 1999; Government of British Columbia, 2005; Shields et al., 2008; Shields et al., 2010|
|-California||Present||Introduced||McDonald and Koehn, 1988; Wonham, 1999|
|-Washington||Present||Introduced||King and Cortés-Monroy, 2002|
|Chile||Present||Daguin and Borsa, 2000; Gérard et al., 2008|
|Russian Federation||Present||Hickman, 1992|
|Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)||Present||Native||Hickman, 1992|
|Australia||Present||McDonald et al., 1991; Daguin and Borsa, 2000; Gérard et al., 2008|
|-Tasmania||Present||McDonald et al., 1991; Daguin and Borsa, 2000; Gérard et al., 2008|
|-Western Australia||Present||McDonald et al., 1991; Daguin and Borsa, 2000; Gérard et al., 2008|
|New Zealand||Present||McDonald et al., 1991; Daguin and Borsa, 2000; Gérard et al., 2008|
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Mexico||Mediterranean and Black Sea||Unknown||Yes|
|Namibia||1990s||Aquaculture (pathway cause)||Unknown|
|South Africa||Mediterranean and Black Sea||1970s||Unknown||Yes|
|USA||Mediterranean and Black Sea||1800s||Unknown||Yes|
Habitat ListTop of page
|Inshore marine||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Inshore marine||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Benthic zone||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Benthic zone||Principal habitat||Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
- ITS – distinguishes between M. trossulus and M. galloprovincialis/M. edulis, but not between M. galloprovincialis and M. edulis (Heath et al., 1995).
- PLIIa – distinguishes between M. trossulus and M. galloprovincialis/M. edulis, but not between M. galloprovincialis and M. edulis (Heath et al., 1995).
- Glu5’ (same as Me15/16 (Inoue et al., 1995)) – a nuclear DNA locus that produces three alleles diagnostic for M. edulis, M. galloprovincialisand M. trossulus. Hybrid mussels are identified as heterozygous (Rawson et al., 1996).
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Charybdis japonica||Predator||Oikawa et al., 2004|
|Diplodus sargus sargus||Predator|
|Pisaster ochraceus||Predator||Wonham, 1999|
|Telmessus acutidens||Predator||Oikawa et al., 2004|
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||Positive|
Environmental ImpactTop of page
The effects of M. galloprovincialis on native species is an area of active study. The effects of introduced M. galloprovincialis at the community level have been best studied in South Africa. North of the Cape of Good Hope, M. galloprovincialis has displaced a native mussel and polychaete from exposed shorelines (Griffiths et al., 1992; Branch and Steffani, 2004), but has facilitated the abundance of a native limpet (Branch et al., 2010) and a rare shore bird (Branch and Steffani, 2004). On the southern coast of South Africa, M. galloprovincialis and the resident dominant bivalve coexist with some niche displacement of each species (Bownes and McQuaid, 2006).
On the Pacific coast of North America, research has primarily focused on habitat competition with its congener M. trossulus, (Heath et al., 1995; Dutton and Hofmann, 2008; Shields et al., 2008, 2010). Historically, M. trossulus was abundant along much of the Pacific coast of North America (Geller, 1999) but current distributions are now more restricted to central California and northward. M. galloprovincialis hybridizes with M. trossulus forming multiple discrete hybrid zones along the entire coast from California up through Puget Sound in Washington (Wonham, 2004) and into Canada (Heath et al., 1995; Yanick et al., 2003; Shields et al., 2008, 2010). In southern California, M. galloprovincialis has become the dominant mussel (Dutton and Hofmann, 2008) and the transition between M. galloprovincialis and M. trossulus appears to be near 40° or 41°N latitude (Suchanek et al., 1997). On Vancouver Island, Canada, hybrid (M. galloprovicialis x M. trossulus) mussels have a higher fitness than either parental species in certain environments (Shields et al., 2008).
Impact: BiodiversityTop of page
In South Africa, M. galloprovincialis is replacing the indigenous black and brown mussels (ISSG, 2005). However, it has also provided an additional source of food for the rare and endangered African black oystercatcher, Haematopus moquini (Branch and Steffani, 2004).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Rapid growth
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
Uses ListTop of page
- Research model
Human food and beverage
- Canned meat
- Fresh meat
- Frozen meat
- Meat/fat/offal/blood/bone (whole, cut, fresh, frozen, canned, cured, processed or smoked)
ReferencesTop of page
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ContributorsTop of page
30/03/2010 Updated by:
Jody Shields, The University of Queensland, Australia
Cynthia Riginos, The University of Queensland, Australia
146 City Road, Tilehurst, Reading, RG31 5SD, UK
Distribution MapsTop of page
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