How are Oysters Born?

When you look at an oyster that has been opened, it seems to be formless. But it is really a complex creature with a mouth, gills, stomach, liver, intestine, and heart.

There are more than a hundred species of oysters. They very widely in size, shape, habits and flavour. But generally, oysters produce many young. Some off them spawn five or six times during a season. 

A female oyster may discharge almost half a billion eggs in a single season! Luckily, less than 1 per cent hatch and reach maturity, otherwise the oceans of the world would be choked with oysters.


A young oyster begins to swim a few hours after it hatches from the eggs. It is quite different in appearance from a fully grown oyster. In shape it resembles a small purse, with a circle of fine vibrating hairs, or cilia, at is mouth end.

These hairs fall off and the oyster grows in a year to about one inch across. But before this, when the young oyster is only a few weeks old, it attaches itself to a rock or other submerged object.

At the end of a month or two it is about the size of a one pence piece. One of the greatest problems an oyster faces is simply to survive against all its enemies. Young swimming oyster that has attached itself to something can be attacked by creatures called “drills”. They bore holes through the valves and extract the soft parts. 

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