Asian bag mussel


Have you seen Asian bag mussel?

Be on the lookout for Asian bag mussel and report it to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection and reporting are the key elements in controlling Asian bag mussel.

Call us on 13 25 23.

Asian bag mussel is an invasive and prohibited marine pest not found in Queensland waters. They can be introduced via ship's ballast water, as biofouling on boat hulls and through internal seawater systems.

Asian bag mussel is a small, olive green to brown mussel. It is able to tolerate a wide range of conditions and can spread rapidly in new locations, particularly where predators are limited.

It is illegal to import or in any way deal with Asian bag mussel. You must report any suspected sightings to Biosecurity Queensland.

Scientific name

Arcuatula senhousia

Other names

  • Asian date mussel

Similar species

  • Modiola arcuatula, Xenostrobus secures


  • Small mussel up to 3cm long and 1.2cm wide.
  • Shell exterior is olive green to brown, with dark zigzag lines radiating from pointed end, and radial ribs at front and rear (but not centre).
  • Shell interior has wavy purple to red zigzag lines and high lustre.
  • Shell texture is fragile and easily crushed between fingers.
  • Shell develops a protective cocoon once mussel is established.


  • Prefers intertidal to subtidal soft substrates (e.g. sediments).
  • Tolerates wide variety of temperatures and salinities.


  • Not found in Queensland.
  • Native to the waters of tropical and temperate Asia. Has been introduced to parts of the United States of America (USA), Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

Affected animals

  • Native aquatic animals



  • Burrows into sediments and produces protective cocoon that joins with cocoons of neighbouring mussels to form dense mat.
  • Mats of mussels can dramatically alter physical, chemical and biological characteristics of natural seafloor habitat.
  • Can dominate seabed communities and exclude native species.


  • Causes mass fouling of hard surfaces including vessels, wharf pylons, navigation buoys and markers, marinas, vessel water intake systems and marine aquaculture farms.
  • Can threaten marine industries including ports, marinas and tourism.
  • Can reduce productivity of the aquaculture industry.


  • Can negatively affect the visual amenity and our way of life. Marine pests can:
    • lead to depleted fish stocks
    • lead to boating and fishing restrictions in affected areas
    • impact significantly on the marine industry that many people rely on for employment and recreational purposes.


Look. Report. Protect.

Marine biosecurity – everyone plays a part.

  • Clean your boat regularly.
  • Check for marine pests on structures and surrounds.
  • Report any suspected marine pests.

Slipway operators, vessel inspectors and vessel owners should regularly and thoroughly check and clean vessel hulls looking out for pests or growth. Pay particular attention to the nooks and crannies of your vessel including internal seawater systems.

Inspect, clean and dry equipment and gear before moving to a different location. This includes pots, nets, fishing or diving gear, anchors and ropes.

If you think you have seen Asian bag mussel report it immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23. Until an authorised officer contacts you, please take reasonable and practical steps to prevent it from spreading.

Legal requirements

  • Asian bag mussel is a prohibited marine animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • Report any suspected sightings to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 immediately.
  • Biosecurity is a shared responsibility and by law everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable and practical steps to avoid introduction or spread of marine pests.

Further information