10 Things You Didn't Know About Oysters
- 91% of all seafood Americans consume comes from other countries. This is not true for oysters—for oysters, what grows in America stays in America.
- About 95% of all oysters consumed worldwide are farmed.
- With a few exceptions, all eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) begin life as males and can change their gender annually in response to environmental, nutritional and/or physiological stresses … and can even be influenced by the gender and proximity of other oysters.
- An oyster can repair its own shell.
- One female oyster can produce tens of millions of eggs while one male oyster can produce more than 1 billion sperm.
- Almost all of the oysters we eat on the half shell are sterile—they cannot reproduce.
- One oyster can filter and clean between 30 and 50 gallons of water per day.
- An oyster can live up to 20 years.
- A cultured pearl is created by implanting bits of tissue from another oyster into an oyster’s gonad. (Ouch?)
- The pea crab (Pinnotheres ostreum), a tiny, soft-bodied, pinkish marine invertebrate, lives in the gills of many healthy oysters—you can’t know it’s there until you open the oyster. Found mainly in waters warmer than Maine’s (Chesapeake Bay, Long Island Sound, Mid-Atlantic, etc.), they are occasionally found in Maine oysters, too, and are considered, by some, value added.