May 29, 2020

An invasive mussel native to the South and Central American coasts is spreading quickly in the backwaters of Kerala, elbowing out other mussel and clam species and threatening the livelihoods of fishermen engaged in molluscan fisheries.


  • The rapid spread of the Charru mussel (Mytella strigata) in Kerala may have been triggered by Cyclone Ockhi which struck the region in 2017.

  • Externally, the Charru mussel resembles the green and brown mussels (kallummekkaya in Malayalam), but is much smaller in size. Its colour varies from black to brown, purple or dark green.

  • It has replaced the Asian green mussel (Perna viridis) and the edible oyster Magallana bilineata (known locally as muringa) backwaters of Kerala

  • In Ashtamudi Lake, the Charru mussel had established breeding populations in 2018 and 2019, acquiring the moniker ‘varathan kakka’ (alien mollusc). 

Source : The Hindu