Oysters

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Oysters are salt-water bivalve mollusks found in oceans/sea/brackish habitats. They belong to the ostreoidea family.

They can be consumed raw or cooked by humans. And some of them have pearl that is harvested to make decorative objects.

Oysters can be consumed both cooked or raw

Oysters can be consumed both cooked or raw

Types of Oysters

1. True Oysters

Comprises of the edible oysters.

Examples include belon oyster, Olympia oyster, pacific oysters, among others.

Pacific Oyster

Pacific Oyster

2. Pearl Oysters

As the names indicates, their translucent shells produce pearl.

Example include marine pinctada maxima. It is the largest pearl-bearing oyster.

3. Thorny Oysters

4. Saddle Oysters / Jingle shells

5.Pilgrim Oysters

6. Dimydarian Oysters

7. Windowpane Oysters

How do Oysters feed?

Oysters are filter feeders by beating cilia over their gills. They are able to filter up to five liter of water within an hour.

The filtered food is moved to the mouth where digestion happens.

They mostly feed on the algae which if left untouched would lead to eutrophication. Hence the oyster feeding is importance to the checking of algae population.

They do also provide habitat to the other marine animals.

This makes oyster qualify as a keystone species. This is due to their great importance in the structure of the ecosystems where they are found.

Reproduction system for Oysters

Some of the oysters are able to produce both eggs and sperms. Hence can be able to fertilize its own eggs.

The ones with no sperms, the fertilization happens internally. Then the fertilized eggs are released into the water.

What do we call a group of oysters?

Oyster reef

Oyster reef

A group of oysters is commonly known as oyster reef or a bed.

They normally get attached at a surface and remain in that position.

They tend to stick on a surface

They tend to stick on a surface

Importance of Oysters in the ecosystem services

They offer support to the ecosystem by control the growing amount of algae in the water bodies.

They aid nutrients cycling, water filtration , biodiversity, food web as well as water filtration.

Oysters provide habitat for other marine animals.

Oysters provide habitat for other marine animals.

Conservation Concerns

They are not currently listed as threatened or endangered. This is because their commercial harvesting is regulated.

Oysters are extremely sensitive to water quality and susceptible to coastal pollution. They can also absorb toxins in them hence becoming unhealthy for human consumption.

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