See also: Shellfish Articles
Cultivated mussels usually have thinner shells than natural mussels. Natural mussels tend to have less meat and are tougher.
Natural or wild mussels can be chancy to eat. Since they filter 15 or so gallons of wate a day they can pick up any toxins that may be in the water. Red tide is an algae bloom caused by a marine algae which produce a toxin (saxitoxin) that can accumulate in any mussels, oysters or fish which ingest them. Eating contaminated fish or shellfish can cause a potentially fatal illness in humans called paralytic shellfish poisoning.
(see also: Ciguatera Poisoning and Seafood Safety)
During elections in ancient Greece votes were cast by scratching the names of candidates inside mussel shells.
Mussels feed by filtering up to 18 gallons of water per day.
Blue mussels have been cultivated for almost 800 years in Europe, and been used as a food source for more then 20,000 years.
Billy by is a mussel soup of mussel stock, white wine, onions and celery with fresh cream. Can be served hot or cold. Probably named after William B Leeds, an American industrialist and regular customer at Maxim's, where chef Louis Barthe created Billy By. Another story says it was created at a farewell dinner for an American officer named Bill who was at the Normandy landings.
Mussels are clam-like, rock-clinking Mollusks that are found throughout the world, and edible mussels have been cultivated for over 2,000 years. Mussels are much more popular in Europe than they are in the U.S.
Over harvesting of fish and shellfish is not only a modern phenomenon. There is evidence that on Catalina Island off California, the local residents of about 4,000 B.C. harvested and ate so many abalone that they almost wiped them out and had to switch to eating mussels.