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The Oyster Shell

Posted by Jody on April 2, 2013

Upper Texas Gulf Coast - Eastern Oyster Shell

Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica)

“I am very fond of the oyster shell. It is humble and awkward and ugly. It is slate-colored and unsymmetrical. Its form is not primarily beautiful but functional. I make fun of its knobbiness. Sometimes I resent its burdens and excrescences. But its tireless adaptability and tenacity draw my astonished admiration and sometimes even my tears. And it is comfortable in its familiarity, its homeliness, like old garden gloves when have molded themselves perfectly to the shape of the hand.  I do not like to put it down. I will not want to leave it.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

~~~

I simply love beachcombing for oyster shells – the knobbier, the better!  Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast beaches are often loaded with these one-of-a-kind beach treasures.

Here are a few interesting Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) tidbits:

Oysters are more than a seafood delicacy! They help the environment in the following ways:

Filtering (adult oysters filter up to 2.5 gallons of water per hour, improving water quality in the process)

Providing habitat (oysters build reefs, which provide habitat for fish, shrimp, crabs, and other animals)

Controlling erosion (oyster reefs are natural breakwaters that protect shorelines) Source: SC.gov

Other names: American Oyster, Atlantic Oyster, Common Oyster, Virginia Oyster

Eastern Oysters are plentiful in shallow saltwater bays, lagoons, and estuaries, in depths from 8 to 25 feet – with water temperatures between 28 and 90 degrees F.  They are native to the Atlantic shores and Gulf of Mexico coast of North America from Canada to Mexico.

Eastern Oysters range in color from a very light cream or tan to greyish/brown and from grey to black.

The Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) is the official state shell of both Virginia and Mississippi.

Louisiana’s state gemstone is the cabochon (shaped and polished as opposed to faceted) cut gemstone, made from the Crassostrea virginica! Check it out: Louisiana’s State Gemstone.

~~~ Happy beachcombing! ~~~

Helpful links: Texas Parks and Wildlife, Maryland.gov

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9 Responses to “The Oyster Shell”

  1. I too love the oyster shell. Of course, there isn’t a shell I DON’T like, so that was easy! Some of them look like angel wings to me, so I love them even more. 🙂

  2. kiwiskan said

    Lovely natural shot.

  3. Grace said

    I miss the beach! Thanks for this lovely photo.

  4. Marianne said

    Shells are usually so pretty, but the oyster isn’t really one to be called pretty, yet inside can reside such beauty. It makes one think.

    • Jody said

      Absolutely! The inside of an oyster shell can be so beautifully lustrous and smooth with such lovely colors. …It really does make one think.
      ~Have a wonderful weekend! I’m so glad you stopped by!

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