Standing Out in Mytilus

Almost every year, patches of shiny black or blue-black juvenile Mytilus* appear among the acorn barnacles on exposed rocky shores. Unfortunately, the patches don’t last long. Their vulnerability to predatory snails may partially explain their failure to persist.

*In 2018, when I composed this post, I thought the patches of juveniles must be Mytilus trossulus, but I’ve learned there’s a good chance they are M. californianus.

Blending In – or Standing Out?

I updated this post on August 16, 2022, to reflect my uncertainty about the identity of the mussels.


    1. So sorry I forgot to reply to your note about how the patches of black mussels stand out too. Such a good observation. I had a fleeting thought of it while preparing the post, but it slipped away. Thanks for bring it back for me!

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