BIOTIC Species Information for Ostrea edulis
Click here to view the MarLIN Key Information Review for Ostrea edulis
Researched byAngus Jackson Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
General Biology
Growth formBivalved
Feeding methodActive suspension feeder
Mobility/MovementPermanent attachment
Environmental positionEpifaunal
Typical food typesSuspended organic particles. HabitAttached
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityNone (< 10 degrees)
FragilityRobust SizeSmall-medium(3-10cm)
HeightInsufficient information Growth RateInsufficient information
Adult dispersal potentialNone DependencyIndependent
SociabilityGregarious
Toxic/Poisonous?No
General Biology Additional InformationThere is some evidence that reduced growth, weight and poor conditions are a consequence of high population densities (300 per square yard). Size and shape can be extremely variable. Because the oyster cements itself to the substratum, growth of neighbouring individuals may result in competition or space and distort the usual shell shape. Feeding is carried out by pumping water through a filter in the gill chamber removing suspended organic particles. The native oyster starts life as male, becoming mature at around 3 years of age. After spawning the oyster becomes a functional female. Larvae are seldom produced by oysters under 50 mm. Growth is quite rapid for the first year and a half. It then remains constant at around 20 grams per year before slowing down after five years. In the British Isles, the main growing season is from April to October. The oyster faces serious competition from the introduced species Crepidula fornicata, the slipper limpet. Brought over from the United States this species can occur in very high densities competing for space and food. The slipper limpet deposits pseudo faeces which forms 'mussel mud' changing the substratum and hindering settlement. Native oysters are preyed on by a variety of species including starfish and Ocenebra erinacea, the sting winkle or rough tingle. Buccinum undatum, the common whelk also feeds on oysters but not as exclusively as the sting winkle. Urosalpinx cinerea, the American oyster drill was accidentally introduced to the British Isles with American oysters. This species lives on oyster beds and feeds almost entirely on oyster spat.
Biology References Lilley, 2000, Dare, 1982, Sheldon, 1968, Richardson et al., 1993, Askew, 1972, Hutchinson & Hawkins, 1992, Yonge, 1960, Korringa, 1952,
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