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BYSSUS

Definition

A mass of thread-like fibres secreted by the byssus gland situated in the foot of certain bivalvia (molluscs) and which serves to fix the animal to the substrate. The presence of a byssus in some species (e.g. mussels) may be exploited for their attachment to artificial substrates (e.g. ropes or bouchot piles) for the purposes of ongrowing. Because byssus threads can be repeatedly produced to adhere to new attachment sites, this capability is utilized in mussel raft culture where seed mussels are filled into mesh-socks. With growth, mussels move to the outside of the net where they attach themselves with newly-formed byssus threads. On the other hand, species lacking a byssus (e.g. oysters) , must be artificially attached to, or held in containers on the substrate for ongrowing.

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