Ribbed-Mussel (Geukensia demissa)

group of ribbed-mussel partially buried in muddy sediment

The ribbed-mussel (Geukensia demissa) is one of the more common species of mussel found in South Carolina estuaries. (Photo courtesy of Dale Bishop)

The ribbed-mussel, named for the prominent ribs running the length of its shell, is common in South Carolina estuaries (where rivers meet the sea). This bivalve lives between high and low tide and is often found partially buried in muddy sediment, attached to pilings, or within oyster reefs. Like all mussels, the ribbed-mussel is able to move slowly from place to place using a muscular foot, and can anchor itself using a cluster of thread-like fibers in combination with a glue-like secretion. The ribbed-mussel feeds on plankton (microscopic organisms), which it filters from the water, and is eaten by various birds, crabs, and fish. The ribbed-mussel is harvested recreationally in South Carolina.