You may have eaten a scallop, but do you know exactly what you were eating? You also may have found a brightly-colored scallop shell on the beach. Here you can learn more about this popular seafood - where scallops live, how big they get and how they feed and reproduce.
1. Scallops are animals.
2. Scallops are bivalves.Scallops are in the group of mollusks called the bivalves. These animals have two hinged shells that are formed of calcium carbonate.
3. Scallops can swim.
Unlike other bivalves like mussels and clams, most scallops are free-swimming. They swim by clapping their shells quickly, which moves a jet of water past the shell hinge, propelling the scallop forward. Click here to see a video of a swimming scallop.
4. Scallops have easily-recognizable shells.
5. Scallops have eyes.
Scallops have about 60 eyes that line its mantle. These eyes may be a brilliant blue color, and allow the scallop to detect light, dark and motion.
6. Scallops are filter feeders.Scallops eat by filtering small organisms out of the water. As water enters the scallop, mucus traps plankton in the water, and then cilia moves the food into the scallop's mouth.
7. Scallops are found all over the world.Scallops are found worldwide, and they may live from the intertidal zone to the deep sea.
8. Scallops may grow to 9 inches in size.
Atlantic sea scallops can have very large shells - up to 9" in length (source: NOAA). Bay scallops are smaller, growing to about 4 inches.
9. When you eat a scallop, you're eating the adductor muscle.
Scallops swim by opening and closing their shells using their powerful adductor muscle. This muscle is the round, fleshy "scallop" that you eat. The adductor muscle varies in color from white to beige. The Atlantic sea scallop's adductor muscle may be 2 inches in diameter.