Scallop is a common name that is primarily applied to any one of numerous species of saltwater clams or marine bivalve molluscs in the taxonomic family Pectinidae, the scallops. The common name “scallop” is also sometimes applied to species in other closely related families within the superfamily Pectinoidea.

Scallops are a cosmopolitan family of bivalves, found in all of the world’s oceans, though never in freshwater. They are one of very few groups of bivalves to be primarily free-living; many species are capable of rapidly swimming short distances and even of migrating some distance across the ocean floor.

A small minority of scallop species live cemented to rocky substrates as adults. Some others species are more simply attached, by means of a filament they secrete. The majority of species, however, live recumbent on sandy substrates, but when they sense the presence of a predator such as a starfish, they are able to escape by swimming swiftly but erratically through the water using a form of jet propulsion created by repeatedly clapping the valves of their shells together.

Scallops have a well-developed nervous system. Unlike most other bivalves, they have numerous simple eyes situated around the edges of their mantles.

Many species of scallops are highly prized as a food source, and some are farmed as aquaculture. The word “scallop” is also applied simply to the meat of these bivalves when it is sold as seafood. In addition the name “scallop” is used as part of the name of dishes based on the meat of scallops, and is even applied to some dishes not containing the meat of these bivalves, dishes that are prepared in a similar fashion.

The brightly coloured, symmetrical, fan-shaped shells of scallops, with their radiating, often fluted sculpture, are valued by shell collectors, and have been used since ancient times as motifs in art, architecture and design.

The shell of a scallop consists of two sides or valves, a left valve and a right one, divided by a plane of symmetry. The animal normally rests on its right valve, and consequently this valve is often shaped differently than the left (i.e., upper) valve.

With the hinge of the two valves oriented as shown in the diagram at right, the left side of the image corresponds to the animal’s morphological anterior or front, the right is the posterior or rear, the hinge is the dorsal or back/ top region, and the bottom corresponds to the ventral or (as it were) underside/ belly. However, as many scallop shells are more or less bilaterally symmetrical as well as symmetrical front/back, determining which way a given animal is “facing” requires detailed information about its valves

The model scallop shell consists of two similarly shaped valves with a straight hinge line along the top devoid of teeth and which produces a pair of flat wings or “ears” (sometimes called “auricles”, though this is also the term for two chambers in its heart) on either side of its midpoint. These ears may be of similar size and shape, or the anterior ear may be somewhat larger (the posterior ear is never larger than the anterior one).

As is the case in almost all bivalves, a series of lines and/ or growth rings originate at the center of the hinge, at a spot called the beak surrounded by a generally raised area called the umbo. These growth rings increase in size downwards until they reach the curved ventral edge of the shell.

The shell of most scallops is streamlined to facilitate ease of movement during swimming at some point in the life cycle, while also providing protection from predators. Scallops with ridged valves have the advantage of the architectural strength provided by these ridges called ribs, although the ribs are somewhat costly in terms of weight and mass.

A feature that is unique to the members of the scallop family is the presence, at some point during the animal’s life cycle, of a distinctive shell feature, a comb-like structure called a ctenolium located on the anterior edge of the right valve next to the byssal notch.

Though many scallops lose this feature as they become free-swimming adults, all scallops have a ctenolium at some point during their lives, and no other bivalve has an analogous shell feature. The ctenolium is found in modern scallops only; the ancestors of modern scallops, the entoliids, did not possess it.

Show sidebar
Aequipecten commutatus
1 product

Aequipecten commutatus

View products
Aequipecten flabellum (African fan scallop)
1 product

Aequipecten flabellum (African fan scallop)

View products
Aequipecten muscosus  (Rough scallop)
2 products

Aequipecten muscosus  (Rough scallop)

View products
Aequipecten opercularis (Queen scallop)
2 products

Aequipecten opercularis (Queen scallop)

View products
Amusium pleuronectes (Asian moon scallop)
7 products

Amusium pleuronectes (Asian moon scallop)

View products
Annachlamys reevei (Reeve’s scallop)
4 products

Annachlamys reevei (Reeve’s scallop)

View products
Annachlamys striatula
1 product

Annachlamys striatula

View products
Argopecten gibbus (Atlantic calico scallop)
2 products

Argopecten gibbus (Atlantic calico scallop)

View products
Argopecten irradians amplicostatus (Bay scallop)
2 products

Argopecten irradians amplicostatus (Bay scallop)

View products
Azumapecten farreri
1 product

Azumapecten farreri

View products
Bractechlamys corallinoides (Coral scallop)
1 product

Bractechlamys corallinoides (Coral scallop)

View products
Bractechlamys vexillum (Distant scallop)
6 products

Bractechlamys vexillum (Distant scallop)

View products
Chlamys hastata hericia (Spear scallop)
1 product

Chlamys hastata hericia (Spear scallop)

View products
Chlamys islandica (Iceland scallop)
1 product

Chlamys islandica (Iceland scallop)

View products
Complicachlamys wardiana (Mel Ward's scallop)
1 product

Complicachlamys wardiana (Mel Ward's scallop)

View products
Decatopecten radula (Flatribbed scallop)
2 products

Decatopecten radula (Flatribbed scallop)

View products
Decatopecten strangei (Strange' s scallop)
1 product

Decatopecten strangei (Strange' s scallop)

View products
Equichlamys bifrons (Australian queen scallop)
2 products

Equichlamys bifrons (Australian queen scallop)

View products
Flexopecten felipponei (Felippone's scallop)
1 product

Flexopecten felipponei (Felippone's scallop)

View products
Flexopecten glaber
1 product

Flexopecten glaber

View products
Gloripallium pallium (Royal cloak scallop)
1 product

Gloripallium pallium (Royal cloak scallop)

View products
Gloripallium speciosum (Specious scallop)
1 product

Gloripallium speciosum (Specious scallop)

View products
Laevichlamys squamosa (Squamose scallop)
2 products

Laevichlamys squamosa (Squamose scallop)

View products
Mimachlamys asperrima (Doughboy scallop)
3 products

Mimachlamys asperrima (Doughboy scallop)

View products
Mimachlamys funebris (Burried scallop)
1 product

Mimachlamys funebris (Burried scallop)

View products
Mimachlamys gloriosa (Glorious scallop)
5 products

Mimachlamys gloriosa (Glorious scallop)

View products
Mimachlamys lentiginosa (Freckled scallop)
1 product

Mimachlamys lentiginosa (Freckled scallop)

View products
Mimachlamys varia (Variegated scallop)
1 product

Mimachlamys varia (Variegated scallop)

View products
Minnivola pyxidata (Box scallop)
1 product

Minnivola pyxidata (Box scallop)

View products
Mirapecten mirificus (Miraculous scallop)
2 products

Mirapecten mirificus (Miraculous scallop)

View products
Mirapecten rastellum
1 product

Mirapecten rastellum

View products
Nodipecten nodosus (Lion's paw scallop)
1 product

Nodipecten nodosus (Lion's paw scallop)

View products
Pascahinnites coruscans
1 product

Pascahinnites coruscans

View products
Pecten jacobaeus (St. James's scallop)
1 product

Pecten jacobaeus (St. James's scallop)

View products
Pseudamussium clavatum (Club scallop)
2 products

Pseudamussium clavatum (Club scallop)

View products
Semipallium dringi (Dring's scallop)
1 product

Semipallium dringi (Dring's scallop)

View products
Swiftopecten swiftii (Swift's scallop)
3 products

Swiftopecten swiftii (Swift's scallop)

View products
Talochlamys gemmulata
1 product

Talochlamys gemmulata

View products
Talochlamys zelandiae (New Zealand fan shell)
1 product

Talochlamys zelandiae (New Zealand fan shell)

View products
Volachlamys singaporina (Singapore scallop)
2 products

Volachlamys singaporina (Singapore scallop)

View products
Volachlamys tranquebaria (Tranquebar scallop)
1 product

Volachlamys tranquebaria (Tranquebar scallop)

View products
Ylistrum balloti (Ballot's saucer scallop)
1 product

Ylistrum balloti (Ballot's saucer scallop)

View products
Zygochlamys patagonica (Patagonian scallops)
1 product

Zygochlamys patagonica (Patagonian scallops)

View products