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Shell color and pattern variation in Mytilus edulis and its adaptive significance
Mitton, J.B. (1977). Shell color and pattern variation in Mytilus edulis and its adaptive significance. Chesapeake Science 18(4): 387-390
In: Chesapeake Science. Chesapeake Biological Laboratory: Solomons, Md.. ISSN 0009-3262, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Chromatic adaptations; Colour; Regional variations; Water temperature; Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Marine

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  • Mitton, J.B.

Abstract
    The blue mussel, M. edulis, may be found with some degree of pale striping on the shell. This variation was postulated to have an adaptive significance, with the morphs differing in the proportion of incident sunlight transformed into heat. The hypothesis was tested by studies of geographic variation of the frequencies of the morphs along latitudinal and tidal zone transects, comparisons of sunlit and shaded environments, and by in vivo temperature measurements. The data generally support the hypothesis that striped individuals attain lower temperatures when exposed to sunlight, are favored where mortality from heat stress is common, and are at a disadvantage where mortality from freezing predominates.

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