RECOGNITION FEATURES: OVAL, ONE PIECE SHELL, SERIES OF SPIRALS OR WHORLS ON OUTER SHELL, FROM 4-10 BREATHING HOLES LOCATED ON FORWARD PORTION OF THE SHELL. VARIETY OF COLORS INCLUDING BLACK, RED, WHITE, AND PINK.
Abalone are a species of mollusks that are found along many of the world’s coasts. They are members of the class Gastropoda; the family Haliotidae; and the genus Haliotis. There are over one hundred different species of abalone, and can be found in the colder waters off the coasts of all of the world’s continents. Although different species of abalone are found in such disparate locations as the west coast of North America,
Abalone possess an epipodium (sensory structure) that contains a foot with small tentacles which protrudes from the shell opening and is used to attach to rocks, coral, or other underwater outgrowths. These muscles are extremely strong, and divers seeking to harvest abalone, typically must use a crowbar type of device to dislodge them animal.
Most abalone live in depths less than 100 feet, but the Western Atlantic abalone that lives from
Abalone can come in a variety of colors, depending on the part of the world in which they live. The abalone that live in the Chilean ocean (called loco) are pure black. Californian abalone can be found in such colors as red, black, white, and pink.
These animals reach maturity at a small size, and a small abalone measuring just 1.5 inches, may produce over ten thousand eggs. A large abalone, eight inches or more, is able to produce over eleven million eggs at a time. The eggs are consumed by many other species, such as filter-feeding fish, and shellfish. Young abalone are prone to be eaten by octopuses, crabs, lobsters, and seastars.
Young abalone diet on diatom, bacterial film, and also algae that grows on the rocks and coral on which they typically live. Older, more mature abalone, consume different types of kelp and algae.
Poaching and over-harvesting has become a serious problem for abalone in much of the world, and new laws restricting how they may be taken have been enacted. In
Abalone meat is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world, and the strong shell of the mollusk is harvested, polished, and processed for use as jewelry worldwide.