Common edible mussels and acorn barnacles living on rocks at the seaside

Mussels & Barnacles at Porthgwidden

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Porthgwidden Beach is just around a small headland from Porthmeor Beach in St Ives, Cornwall. It seems a lot more sheltered in the small cove at Porthgwidden than at Porthmeor. Huge blue-black common mussels cluster on the sea-facing surfaces of the rocky outcrops which tend also to be smothered with acorn barnacles, even the mussel shells are encrusted with them.

10 Replies to “Mussels & Barnacles at Porthgwidden”

  1. Wow so many mussels!😊 I live by the Baltic Sea and there are no mussels, just in the lakes. On the west coast, on the other hand, there are also mussel farms.


  2. Incredible colour of mussels and interesting formation. The tiny barnacles on the surface of the shells look like tiny jewels and give a very interesting and beautiful surface texture. Mussel shells are a favourite of mine to photograph too, they are very photogenic:


  3. Thank you, Linda. Yes, these photographs were taken at low tide. The rocks and the animals attached to them would be under water a lot of the time – but some of the specimens were growing unusually high on the rocks and were not only surviving but thriving more or less in an area that might be called the splash zone. There is quite a wide tidal range in Cornwall and a lot of breaking waves on the rocks especially in winter.


  4. Thank you, John. I wonder if the salinity in the Baltic Sea is not the right level (too low) for mussels to grow. If there are mussels just in the Swedish lakes, would I be right in thinking that they are freshwater species rather than the marine common edible mussel (Mytilus edulis) as shown in my pictures. Actually, the density of mussels on the rocks at Porthgwidden was fairly low compared with many other intertidal locations, and they had not been harvested, and consequently the individual bivalves had been able to reach a great size.

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  5. Thank you, Kate. I could imagine some of the details of these mussels being transformed under your skilled hands and great creativity into some beautiful new embroidered textiles.


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