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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Great Scallop Pecten maximus

Also known as the king scallop, the great scallop is usually found partly buried in sand. It is one of the few bivalves capable of rapid movement through water, which it achieves using a form of jet propulsion. The great scallop claps the two halves of its shell together, which pushes water out of the mantle cavity close to the hinge. It moves forward with its shell gape first, producing jerky movements as it takes successive “bites” of water. These odd movements may be a useful strategy for the great scallop to escape from predators. These edible bivalves are now farmed to meet growing demand.

Great Scallopzoom image
  • Class Bivalvia
  • Height Up to 7 in (17 cm)
  • Habitat Sandy seabeds, at 16–500 ft (5–150 m), commonly 33 ft (10 m)
  • Distribution Northeastern Atlantic
Great Scallop Habitat Mapzoom image