Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Surprise Science About the Lowly But Delish Scallop of Oregon / Washington Coast

Published 05/03/21 at 5:45 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Surprise Science About the Lowly But Delish Scallop of Oregon / Washington Coast

(Charleston, Oregon) – They may be a tasty treat in Oregon coast and Washington coast restaurants, but they’re also kind of trippy. The lowly but delicious scallop along these shores comes in a few varieties and with more than a few surprises. (Photo courtesy Charleston Marine Life Center)

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; major specials now that winter is here
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
major specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Winter's enticing specials now
In Lincoln City:
Major winter specials now
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
major specials this season
In Newport:
Look for many specials
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials and tempting prices now
In Yachats, Florence
Big deals available; lodgings not listed anywhere else
Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

Case in point: scallops have a lot of eyes. That means when you’re checking them out at aquariums in Seaside, Newport, Charleston or maybe Westport, Washington, they’re probably checking you out too, but a lot more intensely.

The Charleston Marine Life Center on the south coast recently talked about this on their Facebook page (though the facility is closed to the public at this time). They and the Seaside Aquarium made known some freaky facts about this yum-o-rama bit of seafood when it’s not headed for the breading section of the kitchen.

“Scallops have dozens of eyes,” the center wrote. “One of ours was showing off its eyes today. Scallop eyes have pupils that dilate like ours. And while light also passes through a lens, it is thought that a mirror made of crystals behind the two retinas (yes, two) is what focuses the light back onto the retinas (rather than the lens).”

So what’s it like when they’re looking back at us?

“Research is ongoing into what these eyes are able to see, but at minimum they can sense a shadow or object passing by and send neural signals to close the scallop's shell.”


A pink scallop, photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium / Tiffany Boothe

Along the Washington and Oregon coastline, there are essentially three main kinds of scallops you’ll find that can be harvested: rock scallops (Crassadoma gigantea), pink scallops (Chlamys hastata) and the Weathervane scallops (Patinopecten caurinus). However, just about all of this takes diving in the sea so it’s not a widespread activity for the average beachgoer.

In some Washington inlet waters there is the singing pink scallop, which recently made a comeback for harvesters.

Scallops are bivalves, which makes them closely related to oysters. Like oysters, they feed on microscopic plankton.

Rock scallops are often found in aquariums like the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport and Seaside Aquarium.

They can swim around when they’re juveniles, but not later in life. They do so by clapping their valves together while shooting little jets of water from both sides of its hinge.

Once they get to about one inch, it attaches itself to something on the ocean floor – or some manmade objects in bays along the Oregon / Washington coast.

“Rock scallops do not move,” said Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium. “They cement themselves to hard substrates such as rocks or other rock scallops. Their large shell can act as a small habitat for hydrozoans, sea anemones, sponge, and algae.”

In fact, the rock scallop can wind up with sea life bigger than itself living on it, looking some giant, wacky Dr. Suess-inspired hat (as in Boothe’s photo above).

“There is a species of sponge called yellow boring sponge which is often found on rock scallops and giant acorn barnacles,” she said. “This sponge burrows into thick shells and is considered a nuisance since the burrowing causes the host's shell to weaken.”

When the rock scallop washes onto the beach, it becomes a colorful and elegant find. Its empty shells will have a splash of purple in them. You’ll often find tiny pits in the shells left from those yellow sponges. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

Oregon Coast Hotels for this - South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

Inn at Haystack Rock.  3 blocks from downtown, only a block from beach. Garden courtyard with a Spanish-style fountain. Private patios, barbecue area, free wi-fi, flatscreen TV with DVD player, large, complimentary DVD library. Some host sleep two or three, one hosts six. 487 S. Hemlock. Cannon Beach . 800-559-0893. Inn at Haystack Rock website here.


MORE PHOTOS BELOW






Photo courtesy Charleston Marine Life Center. Photos below Seaside Aquarium



More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....


Coastal Spotlight


LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Hordes of Flying Carpenter Ants Along Oregon Coast
They're the breeders of the colonies, getting blown by east winds. Sciences, south coast
Beware of Bears on Oregon Coast Due to Late Berry Crops, Say Officials
Spotting a bear on the coast may become uncomfortably easy. Sciences
Oregon Coast Aquarium Adds Some Attractions, Means for Play
Nature Play Area, Outdoor Amphitheater and a new feature called the headwaters. Newport, kids
Curtis Salgado, Blues Artist Who Inspired Belushi, Returns to Central Oregon ...
One of the Pacific Northwest's more powerful musical treasures July 15
Cool Coves on Oregon Coast at Brookings, Seaside, Yachats, Coos Bay
There's more beneath their surface, and other layers to check out. South Coast, Travel tips, sciences, kids
Reflections on - and in - the Oregon Coast: photo essay of the surreal
Most striking is that glassy surface the beach can acquire, creating a magical mirror
Explore A Distinctive Oregon Coast Ecosystem with July 1 Netarts Spit Hike Ev...
Netarts Spit: Dunes, Birds, and More happens July 1. Oceanside events
On Edge of Central and South Oregon Coast, Florence's Killer Plants, Aerial V...
Trails, horses, wilderness lakes, campgrounds, some particularly strange creatures

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted