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La Salicornia – Curly oyster

Curly oyster

The curly oyster (Crassotraea gigas) is a marine bivalve mollusk, very common on the Pacific coasts, which has been introduced to the Atlantic coast, the North Sea and the Mediterranean, for breeding in aquaculture, given its greater resistance and better growth. than the common or flat oyster (Ostra edulis).

Its characteristic shell is solid, unequivalve, extremely rough, fluted and laminated, the left or lower valve being deeply concave with sides sometimes almost vertical, while the right or upper valve is flat or slightly convex, resting inside the left one.
The sides are uneven, with protruding bills and umbos, tending to be oblong oysters but highly distorted and irregular.

The shape of the shell varies with the environment and the breeding conditions, its upper valve being able to be more or less flat or curly depending on said growing conditions.

The color is usually whitish with purple striations and points radiating from the umbo, while the interior of the shell is white, with a single muscle that is sometimes dark, but never black.
It lives in depths up to 40 meters deep, where it clings to rocks in the deepest intertidal zone.

It is distributed throughout America from Canada to Chile and Argentina, Africa from Morocco to Namibia, the entire Asian coast and all of Oceania: in Europe it is cultivated on the Atlantic coast, Russia, Romania and some Mediterranean countries.
Its use in aquaculture is widespread, being introduced in the 1920s in the US and in the 1960s in Europe, when a faster and safer aquaculture breeding was found than the common oyster.

In Spain, its cultivation is widespread in Galicia and the Ebro Delta, concentrating in Andalusia in five facilities, two in Huelva and three in Cádiz.
It is a highly appreciated mollusk in gastronomy for the quality and texture of its meat, although its consumption has not been widely spread in Spain because this mollusk is perceived as elitist and expensive, aspects that are far removed from reality.