How do Mussels Protect Themselves?

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Mussels have hard shells for protection.
Mussels have hard shells for protection. (Image: Alexandra Grablewski/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Mussels are mollusks that live in freshwater and saltwater. Not only do humans enjoy eating mussels, but so do various other aquatic creatures. To protect themselves from predators and other dangers, mussels have adapted ways to avoid being eaten and swept away by currents.

Identification

Mussels have developed hard, bivalve shells that prevent predators from getting to the soft meat on the inside. Although some animals can still break through the shell, it does ward off numerous other potential predators.

Function

The mussel also has the special ability to recognize if a predator, such as a crab, is nearby by detecting chemical changes in the water. When the mussel senses a common predator they can thicken their shells, although this takes much time to do so.

Currents

Mussels also have developed a way to prevent being swept away from currents. They have a foot that helps them attach to surfaces. This not only secures them from the current but also from predators who cannot pry them off.

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