Magellan mussel - Aulacomya ater

Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Pelecypoda
Order: Mytiloida
Species name: Aulacomya ater (Molina 1782)
Synonyms: None
Common name: Magellan mussel
Date of introduction and origin
Aulacomya ater was first found in 1994 in the Moray Firth, north-east Scotland, where it was introduced from South America (Anon 1994). This species originates on the coasts of Peru, Chile and the Falkland Islands and Argentina.
Method of introduction
It is most likely to have been introduced on ship or barge hulls as a fouling organism.
Reasons for success
Rate of spread and methods involved
It has only been found in the Moray Firth in Scotland in 1994 and again in 1997; no other European populations are known.
Factors likely to influence spread and distribution
Effects on the environment
None known.
Effects on commercial interests
It is a fouling organism but probably not of serious concern.
Control methods used and effectiveness
None used.
Beneficial effects
Commercially important in the south-east Pacific where it is fished.
Lessons to be learnt, Comments
Anon, 1994. Southern hemisphere visitors to the Moray Firth. Scottish Office Agriculture and Fisheries Department, Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen (unpublished report).
McKay, D.W. 1994. Aulacomya ater (Molina, 1782) [Mollusca: Pelecypoda] collected from the Moray Firth. Porcupine Newsletter, 5: 23.
Acknowledgements (Contibutors)
Dr J.M. Baxter, Scottish Natural Heritage.
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