Abalone

The Abalone (Haliotis) is a sea snail. It is a marine (saltwater) gastropod mollusc. It is also known as the Sea Ear, Ear Shell, Muttonfish, and Ormer. It is a haliotid. 

The Abalone has a hard, convex, rounded or oval-shaped shell called an exoskeleton made out of nacre (mother of pearl). The shell can be domed or flat and it is usually greyish in colour. The inside of the shell is iridescent blue-green. It has a row of holes in its mantle, which enable it to breathe and expel water. About 4-10 holes are open. It has a rounded foot.

Abalone

It grows to 2-20 centimetres (less than an inch to 8 inches) long. 

The Abalone is common in oceans worldwide. It prefers waters close to the coast in every contintent, except the Pacific coast of South America, the east coast of America, and the Arctic and Antarctica. It is mostly found in cold sea waters off the coast of New Zealand. 

It clings, with its foot, to rocky surfaces. It is herbivorous, eating aquatic plants and algae.

It produces 10,000 to 11 million eggs. 

Abalone

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

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