Asian green mussel


The Asian green mussel is a large bivalve attaining a size up to 16cm in length. Juveniles are typically bright green in colour, with the adults turning dark green to brown.

It is fast growing, can tolerate a wide range of water salinities and temperatures, and can be found in water depths of up to 42m. This mussel is capable of attaching to a variety of hard surfaces including vessels, buoys and aquaculture equipment often forming dense clumps.

The Asian green mussel can outcompete native species, but also has the potential if eaten to cause human-health impacts (shellfish poisoning).


Asian green mussel / Perna viridis

Key features:
  • Bright green juvenile shell and dark green to brown adult shell
  • Commonly 8-10cm in length, can reach up to 16cm in length
  • Smooth pearly shell
Known locations:
  • Cairns, QLD
  • Not known to occur in NSW
  • Variety of hard surfaces, particularly floating, including vessels, wharves, buoys, intake pipes, aquaculture equipment
  • Low tide to 42m depth, lower estuarine habitats to marine
  • Tropical to warm waters but tolerates wide ranges of salinities and temperatures
  • Fast growing, out-competes native species
  • Forms dense clumps, fouls man-made structures
  • Accumulates toxins and is linked to shellfish poisoning in humans
Asian green mussel

Photo courtesy of Northern Territory Government

Asian green mussel

Similar native species

These native species may be confused with this marine pest.

Blue mussel / Mytilus galloprovincialis planulatus

Key features:
  • Large fan shaped shell up to 12cm
  • Blue/black colour
  • Usually found in clumps
  • Sheltered and moderately exposed reefs, pylons and pontoons
  • Up to 15m depth


What is NSW DPI doing?

On the 1st July the NSW Government implemented the new Biosecurity Act 2015(the Act). Under Schedule 2 of this Act the Asian Green Mussel is declared as prohibited matter in NSW. This means it is illegal to possess, buy, sell or move this pest in NSW. Heavy penalties apply for non-compliance. In addition, NSW DPI has the power to seize and require the destruction of this pest .

People are expected to have a basic level of knowledge about the biosecurity risks they might encounter in their normal work and recreational activities. All community members have a general biosecurity duty to consider how actions, or in some cases lack of action could have a negative impact on another person, business enterprise, animal or the environment. We must then take all reasonable and practical measures to prevent or minimise the potential impact.

How can you help?

Learn to recognise, and be aware of, the Asian green mussel so that you can report any suspected new sighting.

If you see this pest in NSW, please report it immediately

  • Note the exact location
  • If possible take a photo and/or collect a sample
  • Freeze sample in a plastic bag
  • Report your sighting