5 Surprising Facts About Oysters

5 Surprising Facts About Oysters

Pearls are revered for their classical beauty. However, the home of pearls, i.e., oysters, are the true unsung heroes that bring these precious pearls to the world.

If you thought of food after reading the word oyster, you're not the only one! But there's more to oysters than meets the eye.

In this article, we have compiled 5 surprising (and fun) facts about oysters. But before we get started, here is some basic information:

Scientifically, oysters are bivalve mollusks or, in simpler terms, invertebrates inside a shell. They are also full of nutrition, environmental-friendly, and give us beautiful pearls.

Now, let's dive into the facts!

5 Interesting Oyster Facts

Fact 1: Oysters filter 50 gallons of water daily!

Oysters filter about 1.3 gallons of water per hour. They act as a natural filter for water and help in denitrification (basically, they help clean the water).

Oysters play a crucial role in the environment as they improve water quality by removing pollutants and keeping the marine ecosystem healthy.

Bonus fact: Oysters protect shorelines from erosion (who thought they could be so multitalented?)

Fact 2: Oysters change their genders during their life cycle

Most oysters are classified as hermaphrodites and change their gender. This is due to environmental factors, including the water temperature and by the relative health of the oyster reef, and also depends on the gender of other oysters around them. Oysters start as males, and they transform into females towards the end of their life cycle. 

Bonus fact: Oysters' average lifespan ranges from 1 to 3 years.

Fact 3: Oysters don't actually make pearls! 

Yep, you read that right. We were just as surprised as you probably are right now when we found out.

We've all heard about pretty pearls found inside shells washed up on the shore. However, those pearls aren't made by the shell. 

Pearls are formed from certain irritants that enter the oyster shells. The irritant can be as small as a grain of sand lodged between the mantle and the shell. Oysters produce a substance called nacre to protect themselves from that irritant. The layers of nacre that build up are what we all know as pearls in today's day and age! 

Around 1 in 10,000 oysters have a pearl inside them. So, how can we see an abundance of pearl jewelry around us? That brings us to our next point…

Fact 4: Most oysters with a pearl inside are farmed

Almost all pearl jewelry is made from cultured pearls (Yep, even the famous Tiffany pearls). 

Natural pearls found in wild oysters are rare in the world, and if by chance you find some, it's likely to be vintage and, well, quite expensive. 

Cultured pearls ARE natural but grown on farms instead. Experts take live oysters known to produce pearls and implant an irritant to prompt the oyster to secrete nacre. The oysters are then returned to their natural habitats, where they're constantly monitored. 

This way, we get as many pearls as we want without searching extensively for that one miraculous oyster shell with a pearl inside!

Fact 5: Oysters are home to other marine species

Oysters are beneficial to the environment, as mentioned before. But they go one step further by being a shelter for marine life. 

Generations of oysters settle upon each other, eventually turning into oyster reefs. These reefs provide a home to fish, crabs, etc. Some sea creatures even use discarded oyster shells to lay their eggs. 

Bonus: Oysters are vegetarians. They eat the algae present in the water around them. 

Have any other interesting facts about oysters to share? Let us know in the comments!


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