The pea crab (as one can see in the picture), Fabia subquadrata is found in 1 to 3% of California mussels along the central California coast and 18% of mussels along Vancouver Island. This is a parasite that lives within the shell, because they rob food from their host and sometimes damage one of the gills. Public health codes usually prohibit the marketing or serving of parasitized animals but since the pea crab is very tasty, organisms with this crab are sometimes sold. Moreover, in a small portion of the population you can find imperfect pearls. These are of no value. http://www.lanecc.edu/science/zonation/mussel.htm (accessed 31 January 2002)
Morris, R., P. Abbott and E. Haderlie. 1980. Intertidal Invertebrates of California. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. 690 pages.
Common Name: California mussel
Other Members of the Phylum Mollusca at Race Rocks.
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Simon Michaud PC Yr. 28