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Mussel Veliger / NOAA OER Gulf of Mexico 2002

A larval mussel illustrating the planktonic larval stage, or veliger. This image shows the delicate tissue above the larva, the velum, which has cilia (moving hairlike structures) that the larva uses for movement and feeding.

Courtesy Gulf of Mexico 2002, NOAA/Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
Definition: A veliger is the planktonic larvae of some mollusks, including gastropods and bivalves.

The term veliger comes from the word velum. A velum is a ciliated lobe that helps the larvae swim, feed and breathe. During this stage, the mollusk develops its characteristic foot and a shell, if it will have one as an adult.

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