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What's The Difference Between Mussels And Clams?
By Nicole Rivas
Even though shellfish like mussels and clams are some of the most popular aquatic invertebrates eaten around the world, most people only have a vague notion about the difference between mussels and clams, aside from their general appearance and shape. As it turns out, their differences also include complex factors like anatomy, habitat, and taste.
Mussels usually have a smooth black-blue or brownish, elongated shell, whereas clams have a rounded shell that's generally gray or beige and ridged. Both filter feeders, mussels and clams, can live in either freshwater or saltwater, and both of them are bivalve mollusks — meaning that they each have a hinged shell that separates into two parts.
The complex anatomy of any given clam includes a kidney, heart, and digestive system, whereas mussels are a bit more simplistic in comparison. While mussels attach themselves to hard surfaces with a thread-like binding, clams use an appendage to move around at the water's depths and bury themselves in mud or sand.
As for the taste, they both have a chewy texture and a tang of the sea, but clams are more likely to have a pungent, salty, fishy flavor, while mussels tend to have a mellow, earthy flavor that some people have even compared to mushrooms. In the case of both, you can eat them raw or cooked, and when they’re done cooking, their shells will pop fully open.