Asian Bag Mussel (Musculista senhousia)

Key Features of the Asian Bag Mussel:

  • Olive green/brown shell with radial ridges
  • fragile shell
  • up to 3 cm long
  • dark radial ridges or zigzag strips.

Colour picture of olive green/brown Asian Bag Mussels in sand

Asian Bag Mussel Musculista senhousia
(Photograph by CRIMP - CSIRO Marine Research)

Which Native Mussels Look Similar?

The native mussels Xenostrobus spp., and Vusella spongiarum but they do not have the radial ridges or zigzags.

Colour picture of Native Mussel Xenostrobus spp.  On the right hand side of the picture is a full shell showing the light brown outside.  On the left hand side is half a shell showing a white inside surface. 
Native mussel Xenostrobus spp.
(Photo by Maria Grist)

Three Vusella spongiarum mussels in a group.  Two whole white/yellow shells and one half shell showing a brown/blue inside. 
Native mussel Vusella spongiarum
(Photo by Maria Grist)


  • from intertidal to depths of about 20 metres
  • prefers soft substrata where it can form dense mats but may also be on hard substrata
  • can foul man made structures.


Map of Tasmania showing distribution of Bag Mussel in red in the Tamar River (Launceston) and the Mersey River (Devonport).
  • The Asian Bag Mussel is found in the Tamar River (Launceston), the Mersey River (Devonport) and St Helens.

What you can do:

  • clean and anti-foul boat hulls regularly
  • clean/wash shellfish and clean/dry aquaculture gear before transporting to different lease
  • report sightings of the Asian Bag Mussel to the Marine Environment contact.
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