Amazing facts about mussels and clams

Large pond mussel or swan mussel (Anodonta cygnea).
Picture: Alexander Mrkvicka, Vienna (

Mussels and clams are the silent among the molluscs. Most often we find them dug into the soil or clinging to rocks, where they filter their food from the water they breathe.

Despite mussels' life, that takes place even more in concealed ways, than other molluscs', they are of great importance to their water's ecology. Who would have though that one blue mussel filters up to 20 litres of water each day and that in the North Sea all of them filter all of the Wadden Sea water once a month? Mussels in the fresh water have a similar ecologic importance.

However, not all known mussels live such a life of silence. Few would have imaged, that there are mussels flying through the sea with flapping shell? With their long tentacles they truly do not resemble a silent river mussel.

From the dawn of mankind humans have been harvesting mussels as food. Where you go on the seaside, mussels and clams are fried, boiled or even eaten raw. Mussels are even raised to that purpose. And when you are lucky, the oyster you are abut to eat, may even contain a pearl...

And finally there is the saying: One is as happy as a clam.

It is a goal of this homepage to bring this fascinating group a little bit more to your understanding and wake your interest for a group of animals whose life often enough takes place concealed from our sight.


"Weinbergschnecken und andere Weichtiere"
: The forum on

  One glimpse on mussels and clams:

  Chapter overview:

A swimming clam (Lima hians). Picture by courtesy of Erling Svensen.