Marine organisms have evolved defence mechanisms to prevent epibiosis. This study investigated the anti-settlement properties of natural periostracal microtopographies of two mytilid species, Mytilus edulis (from North, Baltic and White Seas) and Perna perna (from the SW Atlantic). Resin replicas of shells were exposed to cyprids of the barnacle Semibalanus balanoides. Replicas with intact isotropic microtopographies and smooth controls were much less fouled than roughened anisotropic surfaces. This indicates that in both M. edulis and P. perna the periostracum possesses a generic anti-settlement property, at least against S. balanoides cyprids, which is not regionally adapted. Such a potential globally effective anti-settlement mechanism possibly contributes to the invasive success of Mytilidae.