Common name: Bay Scallop

Scientific name: Aequipecten irradians

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Molluska

Class: Bivalve

Order: Ostreoida

Family: Pectinidae

Genus: Aequipecten

Species: A. irradian

The Aequipecten irradians has a size of about one to three inches. The Bay Scallop can come in all sorts of different colors. It usually lies on the bottom of the ocean and opens and closes their valves to move. They have about 17 to 20 ribs and two “ears” on their hinge. They have a couple of blue eyes that can detect movement nearby.

 

The Bay Scallop population is over seven million. They are shrinking in population because it is America’s favorite scallop to eat. To prevent their extinction some scientists are trying to save the younger scallops and keep them in tanks until they are adults. The Bay Scallop filter feeds and is low in the food web. Because they filter feed, they collect harmful toxins like bacteria and pollutants. They really don’t need to compete for food because they filter feed.

 

The Bay Scallop can be found almost all over the world. Their niche is that they save other organisms from diseases because they filter feed and can catch many pollutants. They do well in their ecosystem because they lay on the bottom of the sand and they can detect movement and swim away.

 

The Bay Scallop’s main predator is the manta ray. Their other predators are eels and bottom dwellers. They evade predators by detecting their movement and swimming away quickly.

 

A fact that is interesting and that stands out is that the Bay Scallop just has to open and close its shells to make it swim. Another fact I learned is that the Bay Scallop filter feeds.    

 

Author: Ernest B 
Published: 02/2013

Sources:

  1. Atlantic Bay Scallop, The Assateague Naturalist (http://www.assateague.com/bay-sc.html)

  2. Bay Scallop, World Aquaculture (http://www7.taosnet.com/platinum/data/species/ scallopbay.html)

  3. The World of Seashells by Patrick Hook

  4. The Ocean World by Jacques Cousteau

Photo Credit:

A live specimen of Argopecten irradians, the Atlantic Bay scallop, photographed at the Marine Biological Laboratory

 

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