Sandy Mussel Beds

Windy ride

By  Nicole Webster

While out at Ross last weekend, we noticed a strange phenomenon of a mussel (Mytilus) bed in the sand. The whole beach up to a certain point was covered in small (~2cm) mussels. Normally mussels are attached to a hard substrate, to give them support against being washed out with the waves.

Mussels invading the beach. Credit: N Webster

Mussels invading the beach. Credit: N Webster

Mussels in the sand up close. Credit: N Webster

Mussels in the sand up close. Credit: N Webster

The same patch of mussles easily lifted up to display to loose substrate beneath. Credit: N Webster

The same patch of mussles easily lifted up to display to loose substrate beneath. Credit: N Webster

Nearby mussels more safely attached to a rock. Credit. N Webster

Nearby mussels more safely attached to a rock. Credit. N Webster

Last year, in July, there were no mussels in the same place. So either the mussels did not grow there last year. Or I think more likely, the mussels will all get detached and/or eaten by July, and just had the poor luck to settle in such an unfortunate place.

Same beach July 2012. Credit N Webster

Same beach July 2012. Credit N Webster

Do you have any information or insight on this? I’ll keep my eye on them next time I return to Ross so see for myself.

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One thought on “Sandy Mussel Beds

  1. Pingback: Sandy Mussel beds II | The Madreporite

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