Besides being seen as ingredients for a delectable dish, oysters and clams are also a type of mollusk (animals that have a soft body in a shell) belonging to the bivalves family. Animals from the bivalves family have two shells held together by hinges.
Oysters and clams do not have mouths or teeth like other animals so they eat microscopic organisms called plankton (the same type of food eaten by whales!), which they strain from the water with their gills.
What is interesting is that oysters and clams do not have a specific gender, they can be both female and male! They change their gender regularly, producing eggs and sperm at different times.
Thus, the male oysters and clams will release sperm into the water and the female oysters and clams will take the sperm in as they filter the water for food with their gills. The eggs are fertilized in the shells of the female oysters and clams.
After fertilization, the young oysters and clams are born as larvae and in their final larvae stage, oysters and clams develop a muscular foot that they use to crawl about.
However, oysters lose this foot when they find a permanent habitat but clams move about with their foot throughout their lives.
Want to find out more about oysters and clams? Read these books to learn more!