Mussels Vs Clams Vs Oysters: What Is The Differrence?

Clams, mussels, and oysters are three different kinds of edible shellfish. They have one, two, or more shells that cover their entire or partially segmented body. Food and pearls are collected from all three species of mollusks. That is to say, each of the three species of mollusks produces pearls that are unique to that particular mollusk. Realize it is hard to distinguish between mussels vs clams vs oysters. Therefore, Fishermen's Net will show you the detailed differences and also the way to recognize each of those species below.

mussels vs clams vs oysters

1. What are Mussels?

Any bivalve mollusk with a brown or purplish-black shell is referred to as a mussel. They may be found in both freshwater and saltwater. The Mytilidae family includes the majority of edible sea mussels. When compared to the shells of clams, mussels have an asymmetric shell. The shell's outline is extended. In addition, the shell is less oval or round in form. The shell might be dark blue, brown, or black in hue. The inside is silver or grey in color. Freshwater pearl mussels are a kind of freshwater mussel.

mussels vs clams vs oysters taste

2. What are Clams?

Clams are a kind of marine bivalve mollusk with equal-sized shells. They spend most of their life half-submerged in the sand on the ocean floor. The clams' two shells are held together by two adductor muscles. Clams also have a strong digging foot. They are always found hiding in the sediments.

clams vs oysters

Clams are commonly consumed in the form of clam chowder. The majority of edible clams have an oval form. Razor clams, on the other hand, have an elongated form and are likewise edible. Clams are eaten in North America, Italy, Japan, and India as a delicacy.

3. What are Oysters?

Oysters are bivalve mollusks with rough, uneven shells that are commonly consumed uncooked. They may be found in both marine and brackish environments. The oysters' shells are severely calcified and have an uneven form. The shell has an oblong form rather than an oval shape. By a little hinge, the two shells are joined together. Oysters have a unique "siphon" in their bodies that helps them take in and filter water.

oysters vs clams

Oysters spend most of their lives adhering to a surface, yet they are also free to roam about. The Auckland oyster, dredging oyster, mangrove oyster, Ostrea angasi, Ostrea edulis, Pacific oyster, rock oyster, Sydney rock oyster, and Portuguese oyster are all edible oysters.

4. Similarities

  • Mollusks such as clams, mussels, and oysters are edible.
  • Invertebrates are invertebrates.
  • Their bodies are covered with one, two, or more shells.
  • Their bodies are soft and non-segmented.
  • Filter-feeders are what they're called.
  • Pearls come in all shapes and sizes.

5. Differences




Cooking Technology

Clams are a kind of marine bivalve mollusc with equal-sized shells.

Any bivalve mollusc with a brown or purplish-black shell is referred to as a mussel.

Oysters are any bivalve mollusc with a rough, uneven shell that is frequently consumed uncooked.

Clams may be found in both fresh and salt water.

Mussels may be found in both fresh and salt water.

Oysters are sea creatures that live in salt water.

Clams: If you want to travel, you'll need a foot.

Sessile Mussels

Oysters are a somewhat nomadic species.

Clams can be steamed or eaten raw.

Only cooked mussels

Oysters can be eaten raw or cooked.


Fortunately, these three shellfish may be distinguished by their appearance alone. Clams have robust, oval-shaped shells with the same size on both parts. Their shells are usually light tan, brown, or white in color (but the inside, or mantle, can be highly colorful—see the maximum clam [Tridacna maxima] for example!) Mussels feature shells that are deeper blue or black in color, oblong in form, and have an iridescent shine. Oyster shells are tougher than mussel shells and come in a variety of colors, including brown, white, and gray. Oyster shells are also a bit more uneven in form than those of clams or mussels.



Because bivalves rely on filter feeding, all three of these creatures may be found in aquatic environments. Bivalves may be found in all parts of the planet, from the shallows to the deep sea, and from the tropics to the Arctic.

Clams and mussels may live in both fresh and saltwater, whereas oysters only live in salt or brackish environments. Clams have a foot that helps them dig into soft material, so look for them in the mud or sand. The coquina clam is one of the most well-known clams: these small clams dwell on sandy beaches all over the globe and burrow into the sand as soon as a wave (or a child's sand shovel) disturbs them.

Clams, on the other hand, tend to remain put more than oysters and mussels. Byssal threads are tiny fibers secreted by mussels that help them to adhere to rocks or other mussels. Adult oysters also stay in one location as adults, and are frequently seen in large oyster reefs linked to other oysters.


All three species are popular among seafood diners worldwide and have a key role in the ecology and economy. The economic worth of commercially harvested bivalve mollusks in the United States, comprising wild-caught and farmed mollusks, is estimated to be over $1 billion per year by NOAA. The overall U.S. oyster harvest in 2012 was worth $155 million, with 3,200 oyster producers in the Pacific Northwest alone—and that doesn't include the employment and cash generated by wholesale, processing, and retail, which considerably increase the total effect of American fishing and shellfish farming.



Clams are a type of bivalve clam that can survive in both fresh and saline water. They have smooth and gleaming firm shells. Mussels, on the other hand, dwell in fresh or saline water and have oval shells with extended ends. Oysters, on the other hand, live in saline water and have a calcified, irregularly shaped shell. All mussels vs clams vs oysters are edible, and they also generate pearls.

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