Green-Lipped Mussels – Perna canaliculus. These are also known as New Zealand mussels, greenshell mussels, and kuku and kutai (New Zealand).

Identifying Characteristics and Biology

  • They are filter feeding bivalve mollusks, and are dioecious (uni-sexual) broadcast spawners.
  • Their most identifying characteristic is the green color that is on the edges of the shell. It is one of the largest  mussel species, reaching a little over 9 inches in length.
  • It only has one adductor muscle.

Range and Habitat

  • Green-lipped mussels are endemic to New Zealand, and found throughout, most common though in the central and northern parts.

Market Forms

  • Green-lipped mussels are the most valuable aquaculture species in New Zealand (+$260 million/sales in 2009), and is almost solely reliant on spat (larvae) from the wild. According to the New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report of 2011, an “excess of 100 tonnes of mussel spat material is harvested from the beach each year and distributed to mussel farms around New Zealand.” 
  • Not only commercially important to New Zealand, the green-lipped mussels is important to Maori customary fishing. 



Alfaro, A.C., A.G. Jeffs, J.P.A. Gardner, B.A. Bollard Breen, and J. Wilkin. “Green-lipped Mussels in GLM 9.” New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report 2011/48 (2011). Print.

Ministry of Fisheries, Science 2010: Report from the Mid-Year Fishery Assessment Plenary, November 2010: stock assessments and yield estimates. 222p. (Unpublished report held in NIWA Greta Point library, Wellington.)

Perna canalicula. (2014, December 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:33, February 20, 2015.

To purchase this image, visit, green lipped mussels.

Dana Point Fish Company is "hook up to plate up."