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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Atlantic Thorny Oyster Spondylus americanus

The Atlantic thorny oyster’s spiny shell protects it from predators. The oyster pictured here is covered with an encrusting red sponge, which provides camouflage. This species is unusual in having a ball-and-socket type hinge joining the two halves of its shell, rather than the more common toothed hinge seen in many other bivalves. The Atlantic thorny oyster cements itself directly to rocks rather than using byssal threads.

Atlantic Thorny Oysterzoom image
  • Class Bivalvia
  • Length Up to 4 in (11 cm)
  • Habitat Rocks to a depth of 460 ft (140 m)
  • Distribution Southeast coast of US, Bahamas, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean
Atlantic Thorny Oyster habitat mapzoom image