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Bay Scallop

Argopecten irradians


A bivalve, easily identifiable by the scalloped shape shell and brilliant blu eyes Bay scallops reach maturity when they are one year old, and they spawn in the summer. They grow quickly, rarely living past three years of age. When bay scallops are young, they attach themselves to objects such as eelgrass by means of a byssal thread. This helps them avoid bottom-feeding predators, such as sea stars. As bay scallops grow, they drop to the sediment surface in the vicinity of eelgrass beds and move on to tidal flats to feed at high tide. The bay scallop is one of the few filter-feeding bivalves that do not live buried in the sand or attached to rocks. Instead they settle and move freely along the bottom sediment surface.


Found in the Manatee River, just near to its mouth at Tampa Bay. It's an estuary here, but the water is primarily salty.


Found during a dip net program at Emerson Point Preserve. Please keep in mind that scallops are protected and there is a season for them in Florida for harvesting. Harvest of bay scallops for commercial sale is illegal in Florida. Recreational harvest for personal consumption is allowed only north of the Hernando/Pasco county line and west to the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County. It is illegal to land scallops outside open harvest areas. It is also illegal to possess bay scallops on water outside open harvest areas. These regulations are designed to protect and maintain the fragile bay scallop population. (from FWC website)

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Spotted by

Bradenton, Florida, USA

Spotted on May 4, 2012
Submitted on May 5, 2012

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