Blue mussels are found on the North Atlantic coast of North America, Europe, and in other temperate and polar waters around the world.
Blue mussels live in intertidal areas attached to rocks and other hard substrates by strong (and somewhat elastic) thread-like structures called byssal threads; these are secreted by byssal glands located in the foot of the mussel.
The shell is smooth with a sculpturing of fine concentric growth lines but no radiating ribs. The shells of this species are purple, blue or sometimes brown in colour. It is covered in a thin film layer called periostracum. This protects it from changes in pH, freshwater and UV rays from the sun.
Mytilus edulis is commonly harvested for food throughout the world, from both wild and farmed sources.
Common Mussels are preyed upon by sea stars as well as by several species of sea gulls. Small mussels are also eaten by the dog whelk.