Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Byssal Filaments in Mussels

Do you see the slender whitish "string" coming from this mussel? Those are called byssal filaments and they are why it can be difficult to pull a clam or mussel off of rocks. The mussel excretes these filaments in order to anchor itself to rocks in the ocean. It can take them from one day to a week to excrete the filaments. Other marine and freshwater bivalve mollusks also have these filaments.

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