This tiny mussel is sometimes very common on our Northern shores,
forming spongy carpets over vast areas of the shore near the low water
mark, as well as on large boulders. It was previously called Muscuslita
It is described as an opportunistic species characterised by fast
growth and unique ability to colonise both hard and soft surfaces.
On hard surfaces, it settles among other creatures that live there.
On soft surfaces, the little mussels weave their byssal threads into
an all-enclosing nest forming dense mats that can hold more than 2,000
individuals in one square metre. These mats rapidly change sandy bottoms
into mud flats as they retain silt. Colonies fluctuate widely and
Features: 1-2cm long. The two-part
shell is thin, fragile and smooth. These tiny mussels build communal
'nests' out of byssal threads incorporating sediments, bits of broken
shells and other debris. Large areas can be covered in such 'nests',
pockmarked with little slits, each housing one mussel. These can carpet
rocks or soft bottoms. Sometimes, small Green
mussels (Perna viridis) are seen growing among the tinier
are seen grouped on a 'nest', possibly eating them? Several times,
seagrasses that might be the Hairy
spoon seagrass (Halophila decipiens) were seen growing
on nest mussel beds.
Sometimes confused with Little
black mussels (Xenostrobus sp.) which are also small, but
black and while they may also produce a kind of 'nest', this is not
as thick and spongy as the mats created by the Nest mussels.
Human uses: These mussels are
considered pests where they establish themselves outside their natural
range, e.g., in New Zealand and California. They probably arrived
as larvae carried in the ballast water of ocean-going ships. In China
and Thailand, they are an inexpensive food and also used to feed poultry,
shrimp and fish.
tiny mussels can form vast mats.
Chek Jawa, Aug 07
Pulau Sekudu, Jul 07
coating boulders and the ground.
Pulau Sekudu, Dec 07
Changi, Jul 12
Ris, Feb 09
shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his
mussels on Singapore shores