The Bay Scallop
To celebrate the upcoming 2018 Pine Island Sound Scallop Search (August 18, 2018), organized by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in conjunction with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, I present the Bay Scallop, Argopecten irradians (Lamarck, 1891), one of the most common species of the family Pectinidae in Southwest Florida. Its shell can reach 75 mm (about 3 inches) in size, and the valves show almost the same degree of convexity, with the lower valve (the light-colored one), slightly more convex than the upper one. The upper valve can be light- or dark-gray, or brownish. The species lives in seagrass beds, mostly in protected bays. The Bay Scallop was the subject of an important fishery along the East Coast of the United States, but nowadays populations of the species have dwindled, probably due to the decline of seagrass beds, which challenged the viability and caused the collapse of the Bay Scallop fishery. Do not confuse with the Calico Scallop, Argopecten gibbus, which is a smaller, more colorful species.
The Bay Scallop, Argopecten irradians, from Sanibel. Photos by José H. Leal.