Our oceans are pretty amazing. Scientists say we’ve only explored about 5% of Earth’s oceans. Imagine what kind of crazy stuff is out there that we don’t even know about!
One animal that we do know quite a bit about is the Abalone. You may have seen this mollusk’s iridescent shell before, but how much do you actually know about this tide pool dweller? Here are three questions and answers to help you learn some abalone facts, followed by a gallery of photos to peruse as you learn about this fascinating creature.
1. What Do They Look Like?
Abalone are a type of sea snail. Their shells are oval-shaped with a low and open spiral structure. Abalone have respiratory pores, or small holes in a row near the edge of the shell. The inner part of the shell is made of of shiny, colorful mother-of-pearl, which humans use for a number of decorative objects. Abalone can be anywhere from 6 to 12 inches long. The color of the outside of the shell can vary from white, to pink, to red, to green, to dark blue and purple.
2. Where Do They Live?
Abalone are distributed worldwide, found along the coastal waters of every continent except for the Atlantic coast of South America, the Caribbean, and the East Coast of the United States. Most species are found in cold waters, off the coasts of New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Western North America, and Japan.
3. What Do They Eat? What Eats Them?
Abalone live off of algae and seaweed. They have many natural predators, including octopuses, sea otters, moray eels, crabs, and sea stars. They are also eaten by humans! Their meat is considered a delicacy in parts of Latin America, France, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and East Asia.
Hopefully you learned some interesting abalone facts! Now please enjoy these pictures!
Haliotsis Discus (disk abalone) – via
Haliotis Fulgens (green abalone) – via
Abalone in a tide pool with a sponge on its shell – via
Haliotis Rubra (black-lipped abalone) – via
Iridescent surface inside a red abalone shell - via
A living abalone – via
Haliotis Asinina (donkey’s ear abalone) – via
Haliotis Cracherodii (black abalone) – via
Haliotis Rufescens (red abalone) – via
Haliotis Sorenseni (white abalone) showing the shell and large muscular foot underneath – via
Underside of an abalone – via
Inside of a disk abalone shell – via