The mussel has an elongated asymmetrical triangular , relatively thin-shelled but solid shell . The outside of the shell has blue/purple color. Lighter colors , yellow-brown and green also occur . In that case, radiating blue to dark purple lines often are present. Shells of juveniles are yellowish and slightly translucent . The skin of the shell ( the periostracum ) is black in adult mussels . The inside of the shell is from the top of the shell ( the umbo ) to the mantle line is coated with nacre. Real breathing tubes ( siphons ) are missing in the Mussel , there is an in- and outlet . The foot gland secretes a protein-based sticky substance. Outside the shell this substance hardens into threads ( byssus threads ) that attach themselves to the subsoil . These threads are tough and elastic and have a very high strength which the shell is firmly anchored . A mussel can be about 15 years old .
The Mussel lives on a solid subsoil because he needs attachment for the threads . The subsoil may consist of a stone surface, but they can also attach themselves to old peat banks and old clay banks that may be present on the seabed. Sometimes they even attach themselves to other bigger animals with a hard shell. Because of his firm the Mussels are able to maintain in agitated water. Because the Mussels are not very mobile and cannot move away from sand and sediment, the moving water also helps to keep the Mussle relatively free of sand. But the mussel is also doing well in very quit water. An optimal habitat is the tidal zone . The species is found in great quantities, often close together, on rocky shores . Also dikes built by people are a good habitat . A place where mussels often occur is near the low water area in the Wadden Sea . Here mussel beds can form . This can be huge accumulations of live and dead mussels. The shells are forming the hard subsoil for young mussels and a reef shaped structure can form called a mussel bed
Mussels are a well-known seafood product. They contain, just like other shellfish, protein, minerals , vitamins, phosphorus , iron , iodine and selenium. Mussels are now often available all year round, because the demand for Mussels remains high outside Mossel season. The Zeeland mussel that is especially popular in Belgium and Netherlands, is largely traded in Yerseke .
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