10 Interesting Facts about Mussels

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Beyond being an intriguing and popular seafood product, Mussels are very interesting creatures as a whole. Whether you are a lover of fun facts or if you may not have known much about Mussels before, this list will introduce some very interesting facts connected to Mussels. Interested? Let us begin.

  1. Mantle colour
  • One interesting attribute that Mussels have is the different colours of their mantle.
  • The colour of the mantles in Mussels indicate their gender. The mantle of female Mussels is orange in colour while the mantle of Mussels is white in colour.
  • The reason why the colour of Mussel mantles are different is because of their gender. Since female Mussels have eggs they are orange while male Mussels carry sperm which is why their mantles are white.
  1. The rate of growth for Mussels differs
  • Another interesting fact about Mussels is related to their rate of growth.
  • Studies conducted on Blue Mussels have shown that female Mussels grow faster than male Mussels especially in terms of their shell length.
  1. There are two groups of Mussels
  • With regards to the different kinds of Mussels that can be found in our world, there are two groups of them.
  • The first group of Mussels are Seawater or Marine Mussels. They are classified in the scientific group known as Mytilidae.
  • The second group of Mussels are Freshwater Mussels and they belong to the scientific group known as Unionidae.
  • It is said that there are over 1000 different kinds of Freshwater Mussels in the world.
  1. How do Mussels attach themselves to rocks?
  • Related to their being sedentary, Mussels are able to be sedentary because they can attach themselves to rocks and other solid surfaces.
  • They do this with the help of their byssal threads that they produce with their byssal glands.
  • These byssal threads enable Mussels to climb onto and attach themselves to solid surfaces.
  1. What do Mussels eat?
  • With regards to the question of what Mussels eat, they feed on phytoplankton.
  • Phytoplankton are a kind of microscopic algae.
  • Another name for Phytoplankton is Microalgae.
  1. The connection between Mussels and Europe
  • Mussels have featured in European cuisine for years. 
  • Some say that the history of Mussels being used in European cuisine goes back to about 800 years in the past.
  • In Belgium, Mussels are a very popular food ingredient that is part of a famous Belgian dish known as Moules-frites or Mussels and French Fries in English.
  • This dish is a very old dish. To illustrate, food historians have even found a document dating back to the year 1781 that talks about the origins of Moules-Frites.
  • Mussels are so popular in Belgium that it is estimated that over 60 000 tonnes of mussels are consumed in Belgium yearly.
  1. How do Mussels survive strong tides
  • When exposed to strong tides, Mussels cope with it by shutting themselves tightly.
  1. The strength of the byssal threads of Mussels
  • The byssal threads of Mussels are not only able to hold on to solid surfaces they also enable them to stick to just about any surface.’
  • They are able to do this thanks to the fact that their byssal threads produce an adhesive substance.
  • The stickiness of the natural adhesive produced by Mussels is so strong that it can even stick to non-adhesive materials such as Teflon.
  • This ability of Mussels has even inspired scientists to explore the possible practical uses of elements within the adhesive that Mussels produce.
  1. Mussels and Art History
  • Another interesting fact related to Mussels is the connection that it has to geometric art.
  • This fascinating connection goes back many years.
  • Archeologists in Indonesia found what has been shown to be the oldest example of geometric art when they came across a mussel shell that had a zigzag shaped engraving.
  • This artefact was said to be created by one of humanity’s ancestors, Homo Erectus and has been dated to be about 430 000 years old.
  1. Blue Mussels and the Environment
  • Blue Mussels have been found to be sensitive to changes in the environment.
  • This has been seen in a study that indicated that the shape of blue mussel shells are impacted by the state of their environment be it due to changes in their food supply and other factors.

A fascinating exploration

As we have discovered these very intriguing facts about Mussels that have given you a new perspective on this fascinating sea creature. Till our next journey together, keep learning and expanding your intellectual horizons.

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