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on May 17, 2012
Aquarium Guide - Mini

The scallop has an incredibly strong muscle that keeps its shell closed.



The scallop has an incredibly strong muscle that keeps its shell closed. It also uses this muscle to swim, rapidly opening and closing its shell. When the shell closes, it propels water at great force by means of the velum, which is a fold of the mantle used to direct the flow of water around the hinge. The scallop can sharply change its direction by adjusting its velum.


  • The scallop is a bivalve, having two halves to its shell and a soft body.
  • It has eyes that can sense changes in light and motion to protect it from predators and help it find food.

Fun Facts

  • The scallop is used in the coat of arms of Winston Churchill’s and John Wesley’s families.
  • Some scallops attach themselves to another structure, but others swim freely.
  • Scallops are hermaphroditic—capable of switching sexes.
  • A scallop contains two types of meat—the white adductor muscle and the pink or red reproductive glands (called “coral”).
  • Scallops are considered a delicacy, but generally only the adductor muscle is eaten.

CLASS: Bivalvia (bivalves and clams)
ORDER: Ostreoida (true oysters)
FAMILY: Pectinidae (bivalve mollusks)
GENUS/SPECIES: About 400 species in more than 30 genera

Size: Up to 8 in (20 cm) in diameter
Diet: Plankton
Habitat: In the sandy and muddy bottoms of the seafloor

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