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Spiny Oyster

Interesting Facts About the Spiny Oyster

Spiny Oyster, also known as spondylus, is a visually stunning and surprisingly interesting creature. Read on for some fun tidbits about them that you may not have known!

The Spiny Oyster is a hinge-shelled bivalve that adheres itself to rocks and other stationary objects like coral- and even shipwrecks – deep in the ocean. There are several species of spiny oyster.

An Oyster of Distinction

Spiny Oysters are valued highly for their unique and colorful shells, which are made into art pieces and jewelry. According to archaeologists, this has been the case for a very long time. Remnants of Spiny Oyster artwork have been found dating back five thousand years.

Many ancient civilizations have used the Spiny Oyster’s shell as a kind of currency, trading them like money. This was done not only in Europe, but also throughout Mexico and parts of South America.

These creatures are also represented in ancient artwork, specifically from the Peruvian culture where the spiny oyster was held in high regard.

For the Maya, the shells of these oysters were believed to be a dwelling place of ancestors. In the Andes, they were employed in rainmaking ceremonies.

More Fun Facts About Spiny Oysters

  • Spiny Oysters are also called Thorny Oysters.
  • They are actually part of the scallop family.
  • They are asexual and fertilize their own eggs. Spiny Oysters do not mate.
  • Not usually found on menus, Spiny Oysters are more beloved for their beautiful shells than for their meat.
  • Spondylus attaches for life. This is why great care must be taken when seeking to transplant them from their natural environment to an aquarium.
  • They only live in warm oceans.
  • They have a more highly evolved nervous system than many similar creatures.
  • Their shells are sometimes called “chrysanthemum shells” because of the delicate, flower-like appearance.

Spiny Oysters in the Home Aquarium

Many enthusiasts enjoy placing a spiny oyster in their aquariums because they are so striking and interesting. If you are considering one of these guys as an addition your aquatic environment, just know that they are very sensitive and special steps must be taken to ensure that it survives life in captivity. You must place them in the exact position they were in when caught. Otherwise, the sensory organs will be misaligned and the Spiny Oyster will not eat, and will eventually die. Once you have placed your oyster, do not move it. This is a very sensitive and high maintenance pet and needs just the right conditions to thrive.

Feed your new pet phytoplankton often, and make sure to turn off the filter during feedings so that the food is sucked in by the oyster and not by the filter.

The tank should be kept at 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH level between 8.1 and 8.4. Thorny Oysters are rather peaceful and will not bother other aquatic dwellers, but use care when deciding who your spiny oyster’s neighbors will be. Avoid placing them in a tank with whelks and crabs especially. Ask an expert at the pet store before you buy any other sea animals to go with your oyster.

These colorful creatures usually prefer a lower light setting since they are used to being down deep among the rocks and reefs where not much sunlight penetrates. More than most other species, the Spiny Oyster’s natural habitat must be re-created as accurately as possible to ensure its optimum health, growth, and life span. Have fun exploring the many beautiful and enamoring species of spondylus in the world – each is amazing in its own unique way.