Story: Shellfish

Pacific oyster

Pacific oyster

Most of an oyster’s body consists of its gills, used for filtering food from the water and for breathing in oxygen. The gills are covered by a mantle – a thin layer of tissue that lies next to the shell. The dark, frilly edge of the mantle acts as a sense organ, detecting chemicals in the water. The adductor muscle controls the opening and closing of the two valves that make up the oyster shell. The dark brown region lying alongside the adductor muscle is the animal’s gut, consisting of a stomach and digestive gland.

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How to cite this page:

Maggy Wassilieff, 'Shellfish - Bivalve molluscs', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 11 December 2023)

Story by Maggy Wassilieff, published 12 Jun 2006