Clams vs Mussels Best 10 Main Differences Explained

Clams vs Mussels

Clams are bivalve mollusks that belong to the bivalve family and phylum Mollusca. The bivalve mollusk razor clams are having the shells of elongated shape. These bivalve mollusk razor clams are with cream-colored muscular feet. They are thought up as the marine bivalve mollusk species in the United Kingdom. The Atlantic razors possess a milder flavor compared to other species of shells. There are two adductor muscles in clams. These two adductor muscles allow shells of clam to get closed on contraction. 

Clams have a digestive system, and an open circulatory system having organs surrounded by watery blood. These are called edible mollusks. Most of the bivalve mollusks or edible clams contain oval-shaped shells and are consumed in the clam chowder. These bivalve mollusks can be cooked in various ways or eaten raw. People love to eat clams raw or some ways in baked or fried clam chowder form. They also eat oysters, including pacific oyster, rock oyster, and other species. The larger clams are considered perfect for stuffing. The oyster shells are also oval-shaped shells made up of calcium carbonate. Oysters are present only in salt or brackish habitats.

 The mussels come from a mollusk family or a bivalve family; hence are marine bivalve mollusk animals. Many mussel species, including blue mussels, freshwater mussels, Mediterranean mussels, and more are present. Mussels live in streams, rivers, flowing water, and on shores by intertidal zone. There are also a few species that inhabit hydrothermal vents. The mussels have three layers, including the periostracum, prismatic layer, and iridescent layer. The inner iridescent layer of these edible mollusks is composed of 95% calcium carbonate. Mussel shells being the edible bivalves, are asymmetrical and wedge-shaped. They vary in color from dark blue to black and golden brown. 

Clams vs Mussels

There are many similarities between mussels and clams. Both mussels and clams are having a similar mollusk origin. Mussels and clams also have various differences. The difference between clams mussels and oysters are various. The main difference between clams mussels and oysters is their habitat. In contrast, the habitat of three species is the ocean floor. People refer to clams and mussels healthy. The reason behind it includes that both species contain essential amino acids and are low in saturated fats and calories. Despite all these facts, clams tend to contain more vitamin C, potassium, copper, phosphorus, and calcium. 



Clams possess hard, thick, and rounded shells, varying in color from white to gray, dark blue and brown, and growing to almost 4 inches longer. There are concentric ridges on the shells joined by brown-colored thick filament at the hinge. Furthermore, the interior of bodies is white with dark purple-colored patches. 

Mussels possess a pear-shaped or wedge-shaped body, ranging from about 5 to 15 centimeters in body length. They may be ribbed or smooth, having a hairy covering on their body. The shells on the outside are primarily dark greenish brown-colored or dark brown-colored. In contrast, they appear peachy-colored inside. 

The clams are present in shallow waters. It prevents these species from the wave action of the surrounding bottom. For instance, one clam species such as Abra profundorum has been taken from the Pacific Ocean at a depth of approximately more than 16,000 feet. You can find clams in freshwater bodies, including rivers, oceans, and shores, freshwater, and marine habitats.

The mussels live in small streams, large rivers, and flowing water. Some also live in lakes. They are primarily present across the rivers of Mississippi, Southeast United States, Ohio River systems, and the United States. These creatures inhabit wetlands, ponds, etc. They avoid shifting thick silty and sand substrates, spending time in gravel, sand, or mud.

Clams are about 20 centimeters long. Commercially, trawlers mainly harvest these medium-sized sea clams. The largest known specimen of these creatures was approximately 1.3 meters wide or four and a half feet in length, weighing about 250 kilograms. In contrast, Pacific geoduck has an average weigh between 0.5 and 1.5 kilograms.  

The adult mussels get an average size between 5.1 to 5.9 inches in three years of age. However, some species of mussels with a body length of approximately 9.9 inches have been found in Baja, California, Mexico. In addition, these creatures possess an average weight of about 60.1 grams. They also weigh ranging between 33.9 and 93.2 grams.

Clams are omnivores, meaning they can eat both animals and plants, though in their most minor forms. Their diet consists of phytoplankton, zooplankton, algae, and other organic matter. They also rely on the organic matter passing through their filtration system.  

Mussels live in one place and eat plankton that gets filtered from the water. As these creatures are filter feeders, they sometimes eat toxins and bacteria, turning them into dangerous ones to eat. Although cooking destroys a variety of contaminants, leaving behind some.

Depending on localized conditions, clams can grow to a harvestable size in about two to three years. Their life cycle can be one year to over 500 years old. During reproduction, clams release sperms and eggs into water in mid-summer, when planktonic food is abundant, and water is warm. They give birth to larva and tiny clams after fertilization.

If we talk about the life cycle of mussels, the male ones release sperms into water that females catch. The fertilized eggs then get brooded in the gills of females, developing into a larva called glochidia. The female mussels release these tiny larvae that get attached to fish gills. Furthermore, the fertilized egg develops into a larva in approximately two days.

The initiation of farming clams occurs at the hatchery where the larva of clams are put on fine screens in the down-Wellers. The up-wells or containers are used to raise young seeds. They also push algae-rich water via the juvenile clams that proliferate and feed continuously.  

The mussels are not grown on the bottom of the ocean for cultivation purposes. In contrast, the spat or seed is shifted to grow to market size on mussel socks. These are the mussel socks put up from longlines or rafts near the water surface. Thinning is done to avoid mussel loss. 

The flesh of clams being chewy or tender in texture is sweet. It is a famous food and is served as an ingredient in stews and chowders after frying or steaming. The clam meat contains muscles, manipulating shells’ each half, the foot, and the neck. 

The mussel meat tends to have a rich and sweet taste with a tender and plump texture. Mussels are eaten raw. It is white to orange-colored. The Channel Seafoods International provides shell-off cooked and frozen mussel meat. 

Research has shown that clams are a great source of vitamins such as vitamin B12. For instance, one can get almost 824% of the recommended daily intake per 100g of these species of clams. The clams are far better than these. 

Various other shellfish and mussels are considered excellent sources of proteins. These proteins consist of all essential nutrients. In addition to all these facts, the mussel protein content is superior to those present in the fish fins. 

The adult clams live for a specific time, after which they die. For instance, clam creatures possess a lifespan of about 20 years. The oldest one lived for almost 500 years. 

Mussels also have a specific lifespan, like clams and other species. For instance, they live for approximately 60 to 70 years, depending upon suitable habitat. 

Clams have many predators, including oyster drills, cow nose rays, waterfowl, tautogs, blue crabs, gulls, etc. 

The natural predators of mussels are seabirds, starfish, humans, raccoons, otters, geese, and humans. 


Sometimes people get confused and raise questions about claws vs. mussels to clear their minds. Therefore, the answers to some of those questions are as below;

Are mussels and clams the same thing?

No, both mussels and clams are not the same things. Both are bivalve mollusks; it is the point where their similarities end.

What are clams and mussels called?

Oysters, clams, scallops, and mussels are mollusks, meaning they all are members of the invertebrate phylum called Mollusca.

Are scallops and clams the same?

Scallops, oysters, clams, and mussels are all parts of the bivalve family in the phylum Mollusca. It means they all share the same characteristics. However, although scallops, oysters, mussels, and clams are the parts of same taxonomic class, they all belong to different families, orders, and subclasses. 


Various animals and plants are present worldwide, all possessing unique identification characters discriminating against them. The same is the case with clams and mussels. Unlike the difference between clams mussels and oysters, they are eaten raw like other edible species. The best way to have mussels, clams, and oysters is in a seafood scampi. This blog post provides exciting facts and information about these tiny creatures to make the minds of people clear. It will help great if you read this article with great attention.

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