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(marine mussels), a genus of bivalve mollusks. The shell is cuneate-oval. With the aid of a byssus, marine mussels attach themselves to the hard substratum or to other mollusks (forming beds). The mantle cavity permits water circulation, which is essential for breathing and for the entrance of food particles. Large representatives of Mytilus may have an ingoing current of 70 l in a day. Food particles move with the water current into the mouth opening; at the same time, other substances are expelled in the exhalent current. In this way the mussels clean the water of suspended particles, which subsequently settle to the bottom.
Mussels of the genus Mytilus are widely distributed in temperate and tropical waters of the world ocean. The edible mussel Mytilus edulis, which is widespread in temperate and subtropical waters of the northern hemisphere, forms extensive colonies and is among the fouling organisms that attach themselves to under-water installations and the bottom of ships. The meat of marine mussels is edible in cooked or canned form. A high-quality feed mix for poultry is prepared from mussels. Certain species of Mytilus can be bred artificially.
REFERENCERukovodstvo po zoologii, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.
O. A. SKARLOTO