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The Life Cycle of an Oyster


The Life Cycle of an Oyster

People often ask us about the life of an oyster, how it grows, and how old our oysters are when we sell them. We are finding that our oysters are thriving within the environments they are growing. The meat is beautiful and well-fished, the shells strong and shaped well. And they are growing very fast in some places, a result of the warm weather, rich nutrients coming off the marshland, and good ground on which they grow.

Regardless, however, of the speed they grow, an oyster will follow the same growth cycle, transitioning eventually into an adult oyster that, at the right time, we sell to our customers to enjoy.

Let’s take a look, then, at the life cycle of an oyster.

Stage 1
The first stage is the egg, that in turn becomes the Trocophore larva after just six hours. This is the first oyster larva, and, because our oysters are grown wild, the larva lives in the open sea.

Stage 2
At twenty-fours hours the larva becomes what is known as D-Stage, due to its distinctive shape.
This “D” relates to the future shape of the oyster, and how the shell will look as an adult oyster.
It will act as a guide, the shell forming around it into this well known shell shape.

Stage 3
The veliger larva stage is next, which basically means that the oyster is now able to move through the water. This happens from the second to twentieth day of the oyster’s life cycle. It is within this stage that the oyster begins to form the shell, and hinge, which allows the adult oyster to open and close its valves.

Stage 4

The pediveliger larva stage is the last stage before the oyster is then able to live on the seabed.
An eye spot will develop on its shell which marks the beginning of its metamorphosis. During metamorphosis the larva will settle on the seabed to find somewhere suitable to attach itself to, like another oyster, or a shell. Once happy with its location, it will fully settle, and from here grow into a spat.

Stage 5 and 6
The larva moves from a micro-spat, into a spat, and usually spends around two to three years growing until it reaches adult size. Once an adult, the oyster is ready to harvest, collected to be graded, purified, and sold to our wonderful customers. 


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