Black-striped false mussel


Have you seen black-striped false mussel?

Be on the lookout for black-striped false mussel and report it to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection helps protect Queensland's natural marine environment, the businesses that rely upon it and our way of life.

Call us on 13 25 23.

Black-striped false 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.

Black-striped false mussel grows up to 2.5cm long and has a smooth, transparent, pale shell, sometimes with zigzagged or longitudinal stripes. They are a prolific fouler and can out-compete native species.

It is illegal to import, or in any way deal with, black-striped false mussel. You must report any suspected sightings to Biosecurity Queensland.

Scientific name

Mytilopsis sallei

Other names

  • Black-striped mussel

Similar species

  • Brachidontes maritimus
  • Goose barnacle
  • Lepas spp.


  • Shell up to 25mm in length, small, smooth and easily crushed.
  • White with dark brown/black bands/stripes.
  • Shells sometimes zigzagged.
  • The 2 shells are unequal in size, one side marginally overlaps the other.
  • Forms in dense clusters and rarely found as a single mussel.


  • Subtropical to tropical.
  • Estuarine to marine.
  • Up to a few metres deep.
  • Hard vertical surfaces (e.g. boat hulls and pylons), also buoys and ropes.


  • Not found in Queensland. Native to the tropical central Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean Sea) and has become established in Fiji, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, India, China and West Africa.

Life cycle

  • Females can release tens of thousands of eggs, which are fertilised in the water column. These develop into pelagic (free-floating) larvae within a day and usually settle a few days later.
  • Very fast-growing, reaching about 8–10 mm within a month of settling, by which time they are mature. They reach their maximum size in about 6 months. They can live for up to 21 months although 12–13 months is more common.

Affected animals

  • Native aquatic animals



  • Fast growing, prolific fouler can displace native species.


  • Mass fouling of vessels, wharf pylons, navigation buoys and markers, marinas, vessel water intake systems and marine aquaculture farms.
  • Threatens marine industries, including ports, marinas, commercial fisheries, tourism and aquaculture.


  • 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 black-striped false 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

  • Black-striped false 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