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Marine Pests of Australia

Asian mussel - Musculista senhousia


The Asian mussel, Musculista senhousia, is a small saltwater mussel. It is a marine bivalve mollusc. It has a relatively fast growth, reaches adult size in about 9 months and can live for about two years. It is found in enclosed intertidal and shallow subtidal flats, occurring to a depth of about eight metres on either soft or hard substrates, even on wooden jetty piles and seaweed.

Where did they come from?

Musculista senhousia is native to the Pacific Ocean, inhabiting coastal areas from Siberia and the Kuril Islands south to Singapore.

Where are they found in Australia?

This mussel has been introduced into California, the Mediterranean, New Zealand as well as Australia..

How was it introduced?

This is unkown for Australia. It is possible that it might have been transported as fouling on the hulls of ships or as larvae in ballast water.

What is its impact?

The Asian mussel is a successful invader of many parts of the world. In some areas it forms very large mats across shallow sheltered seabeds, with densities reaching 10,000 individuals per square metre. This can alter the local plants and animals and the substrate by competition for food and space.

The mussels produce threads that entangle each other to form a mat over the sediment surface. Fine sediment collects in the mats creating a silty layer that can smother filter feeders like cockles and pipi.

How is it controlled?

So far the Asian mussel appears to be having only short-lived minor impacts and so there has been little effort directed towards determining control options. In WA the only predators which have been observed feeding on the mussel are carnivorous gastropods, though predation by some fish species seems likely. In China, the Asian mussel is a source of food. However, its small size seems to indicate that it is unlikely to become popular here.


A bed of Asian mussels
Image © Wild Singapore

Asian mussels

Mussels for sale at a market in Asia

Next: Black Striped Mussel  ...   


What is a marine pest?
How do they get into Australia?
What impact do they have?
What are the main pest species in Australia?
How are we trying to control marine pests?
Northern Pacific sea star
Green Crab
Pacific Oyster
Aeolid Nudibranch
New Zealand Screw Shell
Asian Mussel
Black Striped Mussel
Chinese Clam
European Fan Worm
Japanese Goby
Japanese Seaweed