Atlantic littoral Mytilus edulis beds on mud

Description (English)

Dense mussel beds found in sheltered conditions on mud. There is a build up of pseudofaeces that results in a bed that is very soft to walk on, and sediment which is anoxic to the surface. Pools are often present in the mussel bed but they tend to contain few species. The sediment infauna is very poor as a result of anoxic conditions. The mussel valves are usually clean, without epifaunal growth. Where this biotope occurs naturally, all age classes are found within the mussel bed. This biotope also includes commercially laid mussel beds on soft sediments, which tend to be of uniform age structure. The species diversity of this sub-biotope is a lot lower than that of the other MA2-271 sub-units.
Situation: Occurs on sheltered mudflats, or areas that were previously rocky or cobble fields, but where pseudofaeces have accumulated, leading to the presence of a thick layer of mud.
Temporal variation: Mussels may settle on areas of cobble or mixed sediment (unit MA2-2711), and lead to the build-up of a thick layer of pseudofaeces, changing the biotope to unit MA2-2713 over time. The layer of mud can prevent the attachment of mussels to the underlying stable substratum, thus making the mussel bed liable to be washed away during storms. This is known to occur in areas of Morecambe Bay, northern England.

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code MA22713
Relation to Resolution 4 habitat type (used for designation of Emerald sites)

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Species mentioned in habitat description

Not available

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 2007 (revised descriptions 2012) A2.7213 Mytilus edulis beds on littoral mud same
For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types


Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type Comment
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 A2.7213 Mytilus edulis beds on littoral mud same
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