Biology Photo of the Month - January - February 2003
Common Bay Scallop, Aequipecten irradians (from northern Gulf of Mexico)
Text by Augsburg
biology student Natalie Lanzatella
- November 2003
view of the brilliantly iridescent blue eyes of a scallop in Augsburg's
Many people know of scallops
as a tasty seafood, but most have never seen a living scallop. Scallops
are diverse, with over 300 species of scallops living on the ocean floor
worldwide. They range from shallow waters to areas several hundred feet
deep. Scallops, classified as bivalve mollusks, hide some amazing secrets.
For one, about sixty primitive tiny bright blue eyes eyes reside in
rows along a scallops mantle edge to detect motion, light and
dark. A scallop can easily regrow any lost or injured eyes. Although
these eyes may or may not produce clear images, the ability to sense
an object moving with the speed of one of the scallops predators
allows the scallop to save its skin (or to be scientifically correct,
its shells) by either shutting immediately or swimming away.
Those tasty cylindrical or disk-shaped morsels of scallop meat found in seafood shops are the adductor muscles that in the living scallops make their unique swimming ability possible.
photo for MUCH larger view (256 KB)