Friday, 12th December 2003
Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
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Common Mussel, Mytilus edulis, shell has
silvery blue-grey mother-of-pearl on the inside surface (left)
and a pattern of rays on the upper surface (right).
picked it up on South Bay, Scarborough a few weeks ago. It appears
to have four growth rings; perhaps this shows that it was four years
The shell has two fragments broken from the rim. This might be where
a predator - for instance an oystercatcher - has pecked at the closed
shell to get at the creature inside. These marks are diagonally
opposite the hinge of the shell which is where you'd expect a bird
to try and prise it open.
intended to do a watercolour to show you mother-of-pearl interior
of the shell but didn't get around to it, so instead here's a scan
to show colour.
Mussels grow, often in extensive beds, anchored to rocks and stones
by threads of byssus, a substance they secrete as a viscous fluid
which hardens on contact with water.
Common Mussel (Mytilus edulis) body construction, life cycle
(that's Japanese, above, for Common Mussel) a Japenese/English
description of the mussel on the Bisyogai
Micro Shells site. I can't follow the Japanese but apparently this
little figure, which appears to be constructed of shells, can be
purchased at the Bisyogai shop - you have been warned!
Hope there are no conservation issues associated with the shells
offered for sale on this site, I'm not qualified to comment on that.
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