Atlantic Ribbed Mussel

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While checking out a tiny cove in Rye, New York, I came across several examples of this bivalve that lives in low, regularly flooded marshes and mud flats.

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The Atlantic Ribbed Mussel grows 2 to 4 inches in length. Its glossy, oval, grooved shell varies in color from olive or yellowish-brown to black. The shell’s interior is iridescent blue to silvery white.

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These creatures are are filter feeders. During high tide, they open their shells slightly to draw in water, filtering out algae and other particles.

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They attach themselves to rocks and other surfaces and clumps of mussels can be found half-buried in the mud among marsh grasses.

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Mussels perform an important environmental function of filtering water entering marshes during each tidal cycle. This helps clean and clarify the water.

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An Atlantic Ribbed Mussel’s age can be determined by counting dark growth rings on the shell. Mussels typically live 10 – 15 years, but more advanced ages are not uncommon.

Third Eye Herp