California mussels, Mytilus californianus, are a fixture on Pacific North America’s rocky intertidal shores. They form beds of hundreds to millions of mussels. They’re so common and crowded it’s easy to pass over the individual. When I turned my attention to single mussels I found shells with graceful curves and rich hues.
So far I’ve shown intimate views of particularly clean mussels to showcase their curves and colors. In the end though, there is no California mussel without its bed. I want to respect that. In the gallery below I take a step back to reveal the bed.
With shells strong enough to withstand the force of Pacific surf, empty shells are common in the drift line.