The Calico Scallop
This is another long overdue tribute to a lovely local bivalve: the Calico Scallop, Argopecten gibbus (Linnaeus, 1758). Because of the range of colors and diverse patterns on their shells, Calico Scallops are one of the species that catch immediate and irrevocable attention of casual or first-time collectors walking the beaches of Southwest Florida.
Calico Scallops are members of the Scallop family Pectinidae. Many Scallops are capable of short (and fast) bursts of swim, which they perform by squirting jets of water from around the edge of their shells. Scallops do this to avoid predators, and are able to detect the latter, among other means, via a large numbers of small eyes. The image on the right, taken by Amy Tripp, shows the tiny eyes deployed along the mantle edges of a local calico scallop.
The Calico Scallop, Argopected gibbus, shells and live animal photographed by Amy Tripp. Observe the two rows of eyes along the mantle. Photos by José H. Leal.