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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 13:24 EDT

New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussel, Perna canalicula

The New Zealand green-lipped mussel, Perna canalicula known also as the New Zealand mussel, the greenshell mussel, kuku, and kutai, is a bivalve mollusk belonging to the family Mytilidae. This mollusk has great significance as a cultivated species within New Zealand.

This mollusk occurs all around New Zealand’s mainland. It’s usually seen below the intertidal zone, but it can be seen in the intertidal zone. It feeds on a variety of phytoplankton.

P. canalicula is significant to the economy to New Zealand. It’s different from other mussel species in that it has dark brown/green shells with green lips around the edges, and has only one adductor muscle. Reaching 240 millimeters in length, it’s also one of the largest mussel species.

Some studies have found that P. canalicula hinders the 5-lipoxygenase pathway, which leads to the arrangement of leukotrienes. Many of the products of these pathways have properties that support inflammation. However, a systematic review of current scientific research on supplementation with Green-lipped mussel suggests a lack of persuasive evidence for its use in humans with inflammation associated arthritis.

The farming of mussels is a rapidly growing industry within New Zealand. In 2000 there were 3,000 hectares of mussel farms and proposals for an additional 30,000. Usually, individual farms are less than 50 hectares and placed in waters that are sheltered and close to the shore. With more recent technological developments, larger mussel farms can now be created further offshore and in more exposed waters.

Image Caption: They have – errm – green lips? Bloody big as well! Credit: Richard Giddins/Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)

New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussel Perna canalicula