The scientific name of the Mediterranean Mytilus is Mytilus galloprovincialis, with Lamarck being reported as the creator. I wonder where this name comes from, in particular what is the (supposed) connection to the Gallia province?


1 Answer 1


This mussel, indigenous to the Mediterranean but since spread across the globe by human activity, was first described in:

M. Chevalier de Lamarck, Histoire naturelle des animaux sans vertèbres, Tome sixième, 1re partie, (Paris: February - June 1819), p. 126 (online)

There the French name is given as "Moule de Provence". Provence is a region in the south of France, bordering the Mediterranean. In Roman times it was part of a province called first Gallia Transalpina, then Gallia Narbonensis, but commonly known simply as "Provincia" (= province), from which we get the French name.

galliaprovincialis is simply the Latin version of "de Provence", referring to the place where the mussel was originally found according to Lamarck's description: near Martigues in Provence, a small town in the vicinity of Marseille.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.