There are many types of oysters, each with a unique flavor and texture. Learn about the kind of oysters from around the world, oysters a to z.
There are several varieties of oysters are on the market, from tiny and briny Kumamoto oysters to colossal Pacific oysters. They come in various forms, sizes, and hues, as well as salt and fresh water. While all oysters are nutritious, some types are more popular than others. Some types of oysters are commonly consumed (cooked or raw), and some locales are considered a delicacy.
Oysters play an essential role in the ecology of our oceans. As filter feeders, they help clean the water by removing harmful bacteria, algae, and other particles from the water column. An oyster can filter up to five liters of water per hour and may consume its body weight in algae and plankton daily.
If you happen to ❤️ Fried Oysters, give our recipe a try: Southern Fried Oysters
Types of Oysters
⬇️ Table of Contents
- Anomiidae Oysters
- Black-Lip Pearl Oysters
- Blue Point Oyster
- Cockscomb Oysters
- Crassostrea Oysters
- Crassostrea Ingens Oysters
- Crassostrea Tulipa Oysters
- Dendostrea Frons Oysters
- Dimyidae Oysters
- Dredge Oysters
- Eastern Oysters
- Gillardeau Oysters
- Kumamoto Oysters
- Misty Point Oysters
- Natal Rock Oysters
- Olympia Oysters
- Ostrea Angasi Oysters
- Ostrea Conshaphila Oysters
- Pacific Oysters
- Pearl Oysters
- Pinctada Maxima Oysters
- Pinctado Mazatlanica Oysters
- Pinctada Radicate Oysters
- Pinctado Albina Oysters
- Portuguese Oysters
- Pteriidae Oysters
- Regal Thorny Oysters
- Spiny Rock Oysters
- Spondylus Oysters
- Spondyus Americanus Oysters
- Spondylus Gaederopus Oysters
- Spondylus Varius Oysters
- Sydney Rock Oysters
- True Oysters
- Windowpane Oysters
- 📹 Understanding Kinds of Oysters
Anomiidae is a family of saltwater clam, marine bivalve mollusks related to scallops and oysters and is known as anomiids. It contains seven genera.
The family is known by several common names, including jingle shells, mermaid's toenails, and saddle oysters.
Anomiids have fragile, translucent, paper-like shells. There is often a hole in the lower shell caused by the growth of the shell around the byssus. The shell follows the shape of the object it lies on - usually a rock or a large shell of another creature.
The flesh of members of this family is unpleasantly bitter and is not eaten. However, industrial uses of the shell include manufacture into, or as part of, glue, chalk, paint, shellac, and solder. Capiz shells of Placuna placenta, the windowpane oyster, are made into decorative objects such as lampshades in Asia.
Black-Lip Pearl Oysters
Black-Lip Pearl oyster, Pinctada Margaritifera, is a species of oyster, a saltwater mollusk, a marine bivalve mollusk in the family Pteriidae, common in the Indo-Pacific within tropical coral reefs.
The ability of P. Margaritifera to produce pearls means that the species is a valuable resource to humans. The oysters are harvested wild from coral reefs and are also commonly grown in aquaculture, primarily in the Indo-Pacific region.
The common name refers to the black coloring along the margins of the shell's interior. Externally the shell is dark grayish brown or green, though white spots are common across the outside. Adults usually reach between 20 and 25 centimeters (7.9 and 9.8 in) in height. A distinctive feature of the species is that the hinge has no teeth.
The genera Pinctada and Pteria are often confused. In Pinctada, the hinge is long and straight, the long end of the shell forms a right angle to the hinge, and the left valve is slightly more profound than the right. In the genus Pteria, the shell width is much longer than its height, and the hinge angle is prominent and pronounced.
Blue Point Oyster
People used to get Blue Point oysters from the town of Blue Point, Long Island. They were famous for their wild briny taste. But now, people can get them all over Long Island. There are many different kinds, but the best ones are firm and crisp with a salty and sweet briny taste. The most significant source of these oysters is in Connecticut. But some people call other oysters "Blue Points" even though they're not from Long Island.
Today, Blue Point oysters are harvested from all around Long Island Bay, with each oyster having its unique flavor profile.
Cockscomb oyster, Lopha Cristagalli, the cockscomb oyster, is a species of marine bivalve mollusks in the family Ostreidae.
The cockscomb oyster has a shell reaching a maximum diameter of about 20.5 cm, commonly 10 cm. It has a variable coloration, dark to light purple, and it is a thick, strongly ribbed, and slightly inequivalve shell. The shell inside is porcelaneous, usually purplish-brown or whitish in color. The margins of the valves have a characteristic zig-zag pattern. The surfaces of both valves have many small, low, and rounded protuberances. These mollusks are stationary epifaunal suspension feeders, as they feed by filtering seawater to extract the nutrients.
This species is widespread in the Indo-West Pacific, from East Africa, including Madagascar, Mauritius, the Red Sea, Seychelles, and the Persian Gulf, to Micronesia; north to Japan, and south to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. It lives on coral reefs in shallow subtidal waters at depths of 5 to 30 m.
Crassostrea oysters are a genus of true oysters (family Ostreidae) containing some of the most important oysters used for food. Some species in the genus have been moved to the genus Magallana.
Many species of Crassostrea oysters have slight differences in appearance and taste.
Crassostrea Ingens Oysters
Crassostrea Ingens oyster is a species of giant fossil oyster, a marine bivalve mollusk in the family Ostreidae, the oyster. This species lived during the Pliocene. Fossils have been found in New Zealand's shallow-water limestone and shell beds.
It has a shell reaching a height of 200 millimeters (7.9 in) to over 300 millimeters (12 in). This shell is biconvex.
- The left valve is thick and deep, with inflation of 60 millimeters (2.4 in) to over 80 millimeters (3.1 in); interior cavity depth of 30 millimeters (1.2 in) to over 40 millimeters (1.6 in).
- The right valve is almost flat, 15 millimeters (0.59 in) to 40 millimeters (1.6 in) thick. Most specimens curve slightly to the left.
- The adductor scar area in most Pliocene specimens retains a purplish red color.
Beu and Raine (2009) note that: "This is the sole giant oyster in New Zealand Late Miocene–Pliocene rocks, and there has never been any confusion over the identity of C. ingens.
Crassostrea Tulipa Oysters
Crassostrea Tulipa oysters, the West African Mangrove oyster, is a true oyster in the family Ostreidae.
The mangrove oyster is found in tropical intertidal zones. It grows on the bark of the stilt sections of mangrove trees, which are exposed during low tides and covered during high tides. It can also be found on some other suitable intertidal substrates in its range. This oyster has evolved to survive exposure to the air during low tides. The mangrove oyster is found on West African shorelines.
Dendostrea Frons Oysters
Dendostrea Frons oysters, the frond oyster, is a species of bivalve mollusk in the family Ostreidae.
It can be found along the Atlantic Coast of North America, ranging from North Carolina to the West Indies. In 2013 this oyster was found in Ireland in Co. Kerry. The only previous record from Ireland is from Co Mayo.
Dimyidae oysters are a family of extremely flattened, small (<1 cm), pleurothetic, relatively rare marine bivalve mollusks in the order Pectinida inhabiting the deeper regions of continental shelves from the Caribbean to Japan.
They are sometimes called Dimyarian oysters. Unlike other ostreoids, the dimyarian oysters attach themselves to a substrate via their right (rather than left) valves. They are related to scallops and other oysters.
The Dredge oyster, Bluff oyster, Chilean oyster: Ostrea Chilensis (Küster, 1844) is also known in Chile as Ostra Verde.
This species of flat oyster is a marine bivalve mollusk of the family Ostreidae.
This species is native to Chile and New Zealand.
Also, a self-sustaining population in the Menai Strait was deliberately introduced from the Fisheries Laboratory, Conwy, during the 1960s as an experiment to establish if they could form an alternative to the native oysters Ostrea Edulis (European Flat oyster).
In fisheries, the experiment was abandoned when the species was shown to be unsuitable because of low recruitment and vulnerability to parasites and pathogens. O. chilensis has now spread to other Menai Strait areas and is considered an invasive species.
Whereas in Chile, its range limit is from Chiloé Island, Los Lagos region, to Guaitecas Islands, Aysén region. Practically, it only exists in the wild in one natural bank, Pullinque, a sector located in the Quetalmahue Gulf of Ancud, which was declared a genetic reserve in 1982, and a marine reserve in 2003.
Eastern oyster (Crassostrea Virginica)—also called the Atlantic oyster, American oyster, or East Coast oyster—is a species of true oyster native to eastern North and South America.
Other local region names include the: Wellfleet oyster, Virginia oyster, Malpeque oyster, Blue Point oyster, Chesapeake Bay oyster, Apalachicola oyster.
The eastern oyster is an important commercial species. Habitat change has affected its distribution; less than 1% of the population present when the first European colonists arrived is thought to remain in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Like all oysters, Crassostrea Virginica is a bivalve mollusk with a hard calcium carbonaceous shell that protects it from predation.
This particular type of oyster is important to its ecosystem. Like all oysters, the Eastern oyster is a filter feeder. It sucks in water, filters out the plankton and detritus to swallow, then spits the water back out, thus cleaning the water around it. One oyster can filter more than 50 gallons of water in 24 hours.
Eastern oysters also provide a key structural element within their ecosystem, making them a foundation species of oysters in many environments. They serve as ecosystem engineers in western Atlantic estuaries. Like coral reefs, oyster beds provide key habitat for a variety of different species by creating a hard substrate for attachment and habitation. Oyster beds have an estimated 50 times the surface area of an equally sized flat bottom. The beds also attract a high concentration of larger predators looking for food.
Adult eastern oysters have calcite shells, unlike most bivalves, whose shells are aragonite. The larvae, however, retain the aragonite shell of their ancestors. The specific gravity of the two types of oysters shell is similar, so neither would confer a weight advantage over the other for a freely swimming larva. The transition to the thicker calcite shell in the adult of this species is thought to be an adaptation for defense against predators because the oysters are immobilized in exposed locations.
Gillardeau oysters are types of oyster that is edible and produced by the Gillardeau family and their small private company, founded in 1898 in Bourcefranc-le-Chapus near La Rochelle and the Île d'Oléron in western France.
The Gillardeau oyster now produces roughly half its oysters in Normandy, near Utah Beach, and half in County Cork, Ireland. He also gets his oysters from P. Sugrue, one of the world's top growers from Kerry, Ireland, where the waters are cleaner; there are fewer parasites and less agricultural runoff, and the area is easier to farm with tractors.
Kumamoto oysters are a types of oysters that have a sweet, fruity flavor and are light in brininess. They originated from Yatsushiro Bay in Kumamoto Prefecture in Kyushu, Japan, and were shipped to the US in 1945. They are a popular favorite due to their mild brininess and sweet flavor. Kumamoto oysters are small and slightly larger than the Olympia oyster. Inter-tidal Longlines cultivate them in California and the Rack & Bag method in Washington.
Kumamoto oysters are popular due to their mild brininess and sweet flavor. They are small in size, only slightly larger than the Olympia oyster. Kumamoto oysters are cultivated by Inter-tidal Longlines in California and the Rack & Bag method in Washington.
Kumamoto oysters are a popular favorite due to their fruity, sweet flavor, and light saltiness.
They are small oysters, only slightly larger than the Olympia oyster.
Misty Point Oysters
The Misty Point oysters are a type of oyster from Ballard Fish & Oyster Co. are famous for being grown on Virginia's Eastern Shore in the Chesapeake Bay. These oysters are raised in racks and bags and tumbled to help them form and give them a deeper cup. They have pleasantly firm meat with a robust salinity and an earthy flavor that finishes with hints of celery and lettuce. Misty Point oysters are an excellent addition to any meal and will definitely satisfy anyone's taste buds.
- Misty Point oysters are typically harvested between October and March.
- The average size is between three and four inches.
- Usually sold by the pint or by the half-pint.
- When cooking, Misty Point oysters can be served baked, grilled, broiled, or fried.
- It can be eaten raw.
Natal Rock Oysters
Natal Rock oysters, the Saccostrea Cucullata oyster, and Hooded oyster, is a species of rock oyster found mainly in the Indo-Pacific Ocean.
It was first described by the Czech mineralogist, metallurgist, and malacologist Ignaz von Born in 1778.
The appearance and form of the hooded oyster are very variable. The shape is sometimes nearly circular, or it may be oblong or roughly oval, often with an irregular outline. In the Mediterranean, it grows to 4 to 6 cm (1.6 to 2.4 in) but achieves double that size in the Pacific Ocean. The valves are thick and solid. The lower valve is convex and has no sculpturing near the umbo, which is fixed to the substrate. The upper valve is flat and smaller than the lower valve. It may have wide, sometimes spiny, ribs but is sometimes quite smooth. The margins of the valves are pleated and fit together neatly.
The ligament is internal, and no teeth occur on the hinge joint. The right valve has some small denticles on its margin, which fit into grooves in the left valve margin. A single large adductor muscle holds the valves together, which leaves a large, kidney-shaped scar on the inside of each valve. The color is purplish-brown on the outside of the valves. The inside is white-rimmed with black. This oyster could be confused with Pacific oysters (Crassostrea Gigas) but is distinguished by having a crenulated margin.
The hooded oyster is a type of oyster found in the Indian Ocean and the tropical western Pacific Ocean. East Africa's range includes Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Seychelles. In India, it is one of several commercially exploited oyster species. It is also found in Australia, New Zealand, and the Red Sea. It was first seen in Turkey in 1999 and seems to have become established in the eastern end of the Mediterranean. It favors rocky habitats in the intertidal zone and is found at depths down to about 15 m (49 ft), often growing among the seaweed. It is part of the fouling community and is found on harbor walls, pilings, and other underwater structures.
Olympia oysters, or Ostrea Lurida oysters named after Olympia, Washington, in the Puget Sound area, is a type of oyster that is edible. Species of marine bivalve mollusk in the family Ostreidae Also referred to as "Oly's."
This species occurs on the northern Pacific coast of North America. Over the years, this edible oyster species' role has been partly displaced by the cultivation of non-native edible oyster species.
Ostrea Lurida is now known to be separate from a similar-appearing species, Ostrea Conchaphila, which occurs further south, south of Baja California, in Mexico. Molecular evidence has recently confirmed the separate status of the two species. However, previously, for a period of time, Ostrea Lurida was considered to be merely a junior synonym of Ostrea Conchaphila.
O. Lurida has been found in archaeological excavations along the Central California coast of the Pacific Ocean, demonstrating that it was a marine species exploited by the Native American Chumash people. Large shell mounds, also known as middens, have been found during excavations consisting of discarded oyster shells estimated to be at least 3000 years in age.
Ostrea Angasi Oysters
Ostrea Angasi oysters, is endemic to southern Australia, ranging from Western Australia to southeast New South Wales and around Tasmania. Ostrea angasi superficially resembles Ostrea Edulis (European Flat oysters), and both species may be referred to by the name "flat oyster." However, the two species do not occur naturally in the same geographic distribution.
Other names: the Southern Mud oyster, Australian Flat oyster, Native Flat oyster, Native Mud oyster, or Angasi oyster.
This species is found in sheltered, silty, or sand-bottomed estuaries at depths between 1 and 30 meters.
Ostrea Conshaphila Oysters
Ostrea Conchaphila oysters are a species of oyster, a marine bivalve mollusk that lives on the Pacific coast of Mexico south of Baja California. Until recently, there was some confusion as to whether this more southern oyster species might be the same species as Ostrea Lurida, the well-known but more northerly "Olympia oyster," which it resembles in shell size and color. Because of this confusion, the name O. Conchaphila was sometimes applied to various populations of what is now known to be the O. Lurida.
Recent molecular evidence supports the idea that this species is a separate, more southerly species.
This species occurs on the west Mexican coast south of Baja California from the Gulf of California to northern Peru. There was previously some disagreement about whether this species was distinct from Ostrea Lurida, the Olympia oyster, a species that lives north of Baja California on the northern Pacific coast of North America.
The Pacific oyster, Japanese oyster, or Miyagi oyster (Magallana gigas), is an oyster native to the Pacific coast of Asia. It has become an introduced species in North America, Australia, Europe, and New Zealand.
The genus Magallana is named for the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and its specific epithet gígās is from the Greek for "giant." It was previously placed in the genus Crassostrea; from the Latincrass meaning "thick," ostrea meaning "oyster," and Crassostrea gigas is considered by part of the scientific community to be the proper denomination as an accepted alternative in WoRMS,
The shell of Pacific oysters varies widely with their attached environment. Its large, rounded, radial folds are often extremely rough and sharp. The two valves of the shell are slightly different in size and shape, the right valve being moderately concave. Shell color is variable, usually pale white or off-white. Mature specimens can vary from 80 to 400 mm long.
The genome of M. gigas has been sequenced, revealing an extensive set of genes that enables it to cope with environmental stresses. The expression of genes such as arginine kinase and cavortin is particularly important in regulating the metabolic response of this species to stress events, including the reduction of seawater pH, as observed under ocean acidification
Spawning in the Pacific oyster occurs at 20 °C. This species is very fecund, with females releasing about 50–200 million eggs in regular intervals (with a rate of 5–10 times a minute) in a single spawning. Once released from the gonads, the eggs move through the suprabranchial chambers (gills), are then pushed through the gill ostia into the mantle chamber, and finally released in the water, forming a small cloud. In males, the sperm are released at the opposite end of the oyster, along with the normal exhalent stream of water. A rise in water temperature is thought to be the main cue in the initiation of spawning, as the onset of higher water temperatures in the summer results in earlier spawning in the Pacific oysters.
Pearl oysters are not closely related to true oysters, being members of a distinct family, the feathered oysters (Pteriidae). Both cultured and natural pearls can be extracted from the oysters, though other mollusks, such as freshwater mussels, also yield pearls of commercial value.
The largest pearl-bearing oyster is the marine Pinctada maxima, which is roughly the size of a dinner plate.
In nature, oysters can produce pearls by covering a minute invasive object with nacre. Over the years, the irritating object is covered with enough layers of nacre to become a pearl. The many different types, colors, and shapes depending on the natural pigment of the nacre and the shape of the original irritant.
Oyster farmers can culture a pearl by placing a nucleus, usually a piece of a polished mussel shell, inside the oyster. In three to seven years, the oyster can produce a perfect pearl. Since the beginning of the 20th century, when several researchers discovered how to produce artificial pearls, the cultured market has far outgrown the natural pearl market.
Pinctada Maxima Oysters
Pinctada Maxima oysters is a species of pearl oyster, a marine bivalve mollusk in the family Pteriidae. There are two different color varieties: the Silver-lipped oyster and the Gold-lipped oyster. These bivalves are the largest pearl oysters in the world. They have a very strong inner layer composed of nacre, also known as the "mother of pearl."
The South Sea pearl or Philippine pearl was declared by Philippine President Fidel Ramos as the national gem in 1996 through Proclamation No. 905. The oyster and pearl are depicted on the reverse side of the Philippine New Generation Currency Series 1,000-peso bill.
Pearl meat is the adductor muscle of the Pinctada maxima pearl oyster. Wild-caught Australian pearl meat is MSC certified, recognizing this delicacy as sustainable seafood, which can be traced to an environmentally sustainable source. Some of the world’s leading western chefs have recently adopted Australian pearl meat as an exclusive, rare ingredient, with a mere six tons sourced annually.
A translucent, scallop-sized medallion, pearl meat is sweet and firm. Described as a cross between calamari, clam, and lobster in taste, the briny flavor profile varies significantly depending on the preparation. Prized as a delicacy in Asia for centuries and highly regarded for its medicinal properties, pearl meat is an excellent source of Omega 3. It is high in protein and contains no trans-fats. It also contains vitamin A and E, calcium, iron, zinc, and iodine.
Pinctada maxima oysters grow very large, up to 12 in (30 cm) in diameter.
Pinctado Mazatlanica Oysters
Pinctada Mazatlanica oysters are a species of tropical marine bivalve mollusk in the family Pteriidae, the pearl oysters. It is known by the English common names pearl oyster, Mazatlan pearl oyster, and Panama pearl oyster. Spanish common names include Madre Perla, and Ostra Perlifera panameña. This mollusk was first described to science in 1856 by conchologist Sylvannus Charles Thorp Hanley. Pinctada Mazatlanica produces gem-quality pearls and was the basis of a pearling industry in the Gulf of California for centuries.
This oyster, along with the Pacific wing-oyster (Pteria sterna), was the subject of a pearl fishery in the Gulf of California before Hernando Cortez's arrival in 1535. The Spaniards quickly appreciated the value of the harvest and, in 1586, declared the gathering of oysters to be a right of the Spanish crown.
By the 1840s, the export of the shells was as valuable as the pearls extracted from them; the nacreous shells were used to make mother-of-pearl buttons for clothing. In 1874, compressed air diving equipment made harvesting the oysters easier. By the early 1900s, some 200,000 to 500,000 oysters were being harvested annually. This over-exploitation caused populations of both oyster species to become depleted, and in 1940, the fishery was closed by the Mexican Government, a ban that remains in force.
Pinctada Radicate Oysters
Pinctada Radiata oysters, commonly known as the Atlantic Pearl oyster or the Gulf Pearl oyster, is a species of pearl oyster distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific. Its range extends as far north as Japan and as far south as the Australian state of Victoria.
Pinctada Radiata oysters are harvested for pearls, especially in Qatari waters, where it may constitute up to 95% of the oyster catch. It is also caught for its edible flesh and lustrous shell. P. Radiata has also been investigated for possible use as a bioindicator of heavy metals in Persian Gulf waters.
P. Radiata is generally between 50 and 65 millimeters (2.0 and 2.6 in) in length, though it can reach 106 millimeters (4.2 in). The shell is thin, compressed, and square-like, with growth rings and ribs on the top surface. Its coloration varies, though it usually displays a brown or red exterior with a pearly interior and a light brown edge.
More rarely, the shell may display a green or bronze exterior. Darker brown or red rays may mark the shell, creating darker areas at the margin. The shell's shape and structure also show much variation, hence its many synonyms; it has been described as "very similar to Pinctada margaritifera" and has been misidentified on occasion as P. Margaritifera. P. Radiata is hermaphroditic, with reproductive maturity being influenced by temperature.
Pinctado Albina Oysters
Pinctada Albina oysters are a species of pearl oyster of the genus Pinctada, known as the Sharks Bay Shell. Another common name is the Arafura shell. It is called the "Amami Gai" in Japan.
Pinctada Albina oysters belong to the genus Pinctada. These are saltwater oysters and marine bivalve mollusks of the genus Pinctada in the family Pteriidae. They have a strong inner shell layer composed of nacre, also known as the mother of pearl. Pearl oysters are not closely related to the edible oysters of the family Ostreidae, and they are also not closely related to the freshwater pearl mussels of the families Unionidae and Margaritiferidae.
Like other members of the genus Pinctada, they share the physiological properties that can lead to the production of large pearls of commercial value, and therefore attempts have been made to harvest pearls commercially from many different Pinctada species.
The species is small, only three to four inches in diameter. The shells are either grayish or greenish-yellow and surrounded by a few indistinct brownish-green radial bands. Nacre is tinted yellowish-green, with a slight border of pale yellow, and has brown markings. The shell has a rounded outline with a nearly equal height and width.
Oyster shells are usually oval or pear-shaped but will vary widely in form depending on what they attach to. Oysters have a strong inner shell layer composed of nacre, also known as the "mother of pearl." An oyster can filter 1.3 gallons of water per hour.
Portuguese oysters, or the Crassostrea Angulata, is a species of oyster found in the southwest Iberian Peninsula, closely related to the Pacific oyster. Although first identified as a native European species, genetic studies have suggested the Portuguese oyster originated from the Pacific coast of Asia and was introduced to Europe by Portuguese trading ships in the 16th century. The species is usually found in coastal river mouths and estuaries.
Before its decimation by iridoviral disease in 1969, C. Angulata was extensively cultivated in France and Portugal as part of the edible oyster industry. The Pacific oyster, which is more resistant to the disease, was introduced in the 1970s and has since replaced C. Angulata as the main commercial species. The Portuguese oyster is cultured commercially in Taiwan.
Pteriidae oysters, also called Feather oysters, is a family of medium-sized to large saltwater clams. They are pearl oysters and marine bivalve mollusks in the order Pteriida.
Some of the species in this family are important economically as the source of saltwater pearls.
Regal Thorny Oysters
Regal Thorny oyster, or Spondylus Regius oysters, is a species of bivalve mollusk in the family Spondylidae. It can be found in the Western Pacific and can grow 156 mm in length.
It's found in the Red Sea, Philippines, Japan, and Coral Sea waters and is found on coral debris from depths of 5 to 80 meters.
Spiny Rock Oysters
Spiny Rock oyster, or Saccostrea Echinata oysters, is one of several tropical rock oyster species occurring in tropical seas across the Indo-Pacific, including coastal waters across northern Australia to Noumea.
The history of Indigenous Australians' harvesting of oysters goes back many generations, as evidenced by the numerous shell middens along Australia's northern coastline. More recently, the wild oysters have been collected off the rocks and bottled for sale.
Spondylus oysters are a genus of bivalve mollusks, the only genus in the family Spondylidae. They are known in English as Spiny oysters (though they are not, in fact, true oysters).
The many species of Spondylus vary considerably in appearance. They are grouped in the same superfamily as the scallops.
They are not closely related to true oysters (family Ostreidae); however, they do share some habits, such as cementing themselves to rocks rather than attaching themselves to a byssus. The two halves of their shells are joined with a ball-and-socket type of hinge rather than with a toothed hinge, as is more common in other bivalves. They also retain vestigial anterior and posterior auricles ("ears," triangular shell flaps) along the hinge line, a characteristic feature of scallops, though not oysters.
As is the case in all scallops, Spondylus spp. has multiple eyes around the edges of their mantle and relatively well-developed nervous systems. Their nervous ganglia are concentrated in the visceral region, with recognizable optic lobes connected to the eyes.
Spondyus Americanus Oysters
Spondylus Americanus oysters, the Atlantic thorny oyster, is a species of bivalve mollusk. It can be found along the Atlantic coast of North America, ranging from North Carolina to Brazil.
- The Atlantic thorny oyster can grow up to 10 centimeters (3.9 in) in diameter.
- The shell's valves are roughly circular, and the upper one is decorated with many spiny protuberances up to 5 centimeters (2.0 in) long. When growing in a crevice, the shape of the shell adapts itself to the available space.
- The color varies but is usually white or cream with orange or purplish areas making it well camouflaged to hide from its predators. The lower valve is flat and is attached to the substrate.
The living animal lying on the seabed is usually not visible because of the algae, marine animals, and sediment covering the shell. The flat tree oyster and Lister's tree oyster are often among these epibionts. A diver swimming past may just observe a slight movement on the seabed as the oyster snaps its valves shut. Young animals are much less spiny than adults and resemble members of the genus Chara, the jewel box clams.
Spondylus Gaederopus Oysters
Spondylus Gaederopus oysters are a species of marine bivalve mollusk, a thorny oyster in the family Spondylidae. This species is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea.
Spondylus Gaederopus attaches itself to the substrate with its lower valve, which is usually white, while the upper valve is usually purple. Specimens that are all white or all purple do, however, exist.
The mollusk is edible and is consumed in Sardinia.
Spondylus Varius Oysters
Spondylus Varius oyster, is a species of large marine bivalve mollusk in the family Spondylidae, the spiny oysters.
Spondylus Varius is the largest of the spiny oysters, reaching a maximum size of about 20 cm. Aside from the size, the shell is easily recognizable because its adult part is white, but a colorful (usually crimson, but it can be yellow) prodissoconch is clearly visible at the apical end.
It lives at depths of 30 m and, like most bivalves, is a filter-feeder, using plankton as a food source. This species can be found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and off Australia, China, the Philippines, Japan, and Taiwan.
Sydney Rock Oysters
Sydney Rock oyster, or Saccostrea Glomerata oyster, is an oyster species belonging to the family Ostreidae.
Sydney rock oysters are best consumed when freshly shucked but do have a good shelf life when kept whole, of up to 14 days providing they are kept at the correct temperature and handled safely.
It is endemic to Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, it is known as the Sydney rock oyster and is commercially farmed. In New Zealand, where the species is not farmed, it is known as the New Zealand rock oyster or Auckland oyster. The species is closely related to Saccostrea Cucullata, the hooded oyster common on Indo-Pacific rocky shores.
Sydney rock oysters are capable of tolerating a wide range of salinities (halotolerant). They are usually found in the intertidal zone to 3 m (9.8 ft) below the low-water mark.
The Sydney and New Zealand rock oysters have previously been classified as two separate species: Saccostrea Commercialis and S. Gomerata, respectively. They have also been grouped with the hooded oyster into a single species, S. Cucullata.
When proposing the name, Ostrea Commercialis in 1933, Iredale & Roughley noted that the New South Wales oyster had been variously referred to as species O. cucullata Born (Ascension Island), O. Mordax Gould (Fiji), O. Glomerata Gould (New Zealand), O. Circumsuta Gould (Fiji); and even to O. Trigonata Sowerby and O. Mytiloides Lamarck.
True oysters include most species of mollusks commonly consumed as oysters. Pearl oysters are not true oysters and belong to the order Pteriida.
Like scallops, true oysters have a central adductor muscle, which means the shell has a characteristic central scar marking its point of attachment. The shell tends to be irregular as a result of attaching to a substrate.
Both oviparous (egg-bearing) and larviparous (larvae-bearing) species are known within Ostreidae. Both types are hermaphrodites. However, the larviparous species show a pattern of alternating sex within each individual, whereas the oviparous species are simultaneous hermaphrodites, producing either female or male gametes according to circumstances.
Members of genus Ostrea generally live continually immersed and are quite flat, with roundish shells. They differ from most bivalves by having shells completely made up of calcite but with internal muscle scars of aragonitic composition. They are best in somewhat oligotrophic water. They brood their fertilized eggs for various proportions of the period from fertilization to hatching.
Members of genera Saccostrea, Magallana, and Crassostrea generally live in the intertidal zone, broadcast sperm and eggs into the sea, and can thrive in eutrophic water. One of the most commonly cultivated oysters is the Pacific oyster, which is ideally suited for cultivation in seawater ponds.
The Windowpane oyster (Placuna placenta) is a bivalve marine mollusk in the family of Placunidae. They are edible but valued more for their shells (and the rather small pearls). The shells have been used for thousands of years as a glass substitute because of their durability and translucence. More recently, they have been used in the manufacture of decorative items such as chandeliers and lampshades; in this use, the shell is known as Capiz Shell (kapis). Capiz shells are also used as raw materials for glue, chalk, and varnish.
Distribution extends from the shallows of the Gulf of Aden to around the Philippines, where it is abundant in the eponymous province of Capiz. The mollusks are found on muddy or sandy shores, in bays, coves, and lagoons to a depth of about 100 m (330 ft).
Populations have declined because of destructive fishing and gathering methods such as trawling, dredging, blast fishing, and surface-supplied diving. In the Philippines, fisheries are now regulated through permits, quotas, size limits, and protected habitats. Despite this, resources continue to be depleted.
The nearly flat shells of the capiz can grow to over 150 mm (5.9 in) in diameter, reaching maturity between 70 to 100 mm (2.8 to 3.9 in). The shell is secured by a V-shaped ligament. Males and females are distinguished by the color of the gonads. Fertilization is external, and larvae are free-swimming like plankton for 14 days or attached to surfaces via byssal thread during metamorphosis, eventually settling on the bottom. They consume plankton filtered from the water passing through their slightly opened shell; the shell closes if the bivalve is above water during low tide.
Picking the Best Type of Oysters
Choosing the correct type of oyster can be tricky, but it's important to get it right if you want to enjoy this delicious seafood. Here are a few tips to help you choose the best oysters for your meal:
- Know what you like: Some people prefer small, delicate oysters while others prefer large, bolder ones. Consider what kind of flavor and texture you prefer before making your selection.
- Consider where they're from: Oysters from different regions can have different briny flavors. If you're unsure which type you'll like best, ask your fishmonger for recommendations.
- Try them all: Don't be afraid to experiment! With such a wide variety of oysters available, there's sure to be one (or more) that you'll love. So, go ahead and give them all a try.
📹 Understanding Kinds of Oysters
How Are Oysters Harvested?
Oysters are harvested using either a dredge or tongs. A dredge is a large, heavy machine that is dragged along the bottom of the oyster bed, scooping up oysters as it goes. Tongs are a more traditional way of harvesting oysters and involve two people working together to hand-pick the oysters from the bed.
How Many Oysters Can Be Harvested in a Day?
This depends on the size of the oyster bed and the method of harvest being used. A small crew of workers using tongs can typically collect around 50 bushels of oysters in a day, while a larger crew using a dredge can harvest several thousand bushels.
How Long Do Oysters Take to Grow?
Oysters typically take 2-3 years to reach harvestable size. However, they can continue to grow larger after that, and some oysters have been known to reach sizes of over a foot in length!
What Do Oysters Eat?
Oysters are filter feeders, meaning that they strain tiny food particles out of the water around them as it passes through their gills. Phytoplankton and zooplankton are two common types of organisms that oysters will consume.
Do Oysters Have Any Predators?
Yes, oysters have a few predators that they need to watch out for. One of the most common is the starfish, which will pry open an oyster's shell and eat the meat inside. Oysters can also fall prey to crabs, fish, and even other oysters!
How Do Oysters Reproduce?
Wild oysters are collected from waterways and ocean waters, while farmed oysters have been raised in aquaculture.
Farmed oysters are typically easier to find year-round, as they are not subject to the same seasonal fluctuations as wild oysters.
Wild oysters can sometimes be more expensive, as they are more difficult to collect. However, many people believe that wild oysters have a better flavor than their farmed counterparts.
Names of Edible Oysters 🦪
These are 11 of the most popular selections of oysters to eat.
- Atlantic Oysters
- Belon Oysters
- Dredge Oyster
- European Flat Oysters
- Fine De Claire Oysters
- Kumamoto Oysters
- Olympia Oysters
- Pacific Oysters
- Pearl Oysters
- Shigoku Oysters
- Sydney Rock Oysters