• 9 Fun Facts about Florida Bay Scallops

    Besides summer sport and sizzling sautéed suppertimes, there are some interesting things about Florida Bay Scallops that you may not realize.

    Fast growth. Short life.

    Scallops live about one year. When water temperatures start to rise, scallops form in the grassy flats. They grow throughout the summer before spawning in the fall, concluding their life cycle. Late summer scallops are largest at about three inches maximum.

    Both male and female

    Most scallops reproduce as hermaphrodites, able to both release and fertilize eggs when they spawn. One scallop can produce millions of eggs but only one in 12 million reaches adulthood.

    Scallop Clap clip Floridas Adventure Coast

    Zig Zag Scamper

    Unlike other bivalves, scallops are free swimmers. By squeezing their shells together, these marine mollusks expel a jet of water that rockets them across seagrass beds. To catch one, grab the top and bottom of the shell toward the back to avoid a pinch. Wearing gloves or using a dip net are also good ideas.

    Scallop in the Grass Floridas Adventure Coast

    Exceptional eyes

    Scallops are blue-eyed. Encircling each shell are about 20 pairs of small bright blue eyes. Unique among mollusks, these eyes are concave, parabolic mirrors made of crystals of guanine. Crystalline guanine is a highly reflective material found in nature from fish scales to chameleon skin. Usually crystalline guanine forms into prisms but in scallops, they form as squares, which makes a smooth surface like within a telescope.

    Clear water communities

    Scallops need clean, high salinity water with low sediment to thrive. The best scallop sighting is where freshwater flows into salt water. Scallops spend most of their time feeding and filtering water with their shells open. Look closely; spot one and there are usually more nearby.

    scallop grass Floridas Adventure Coast

    Masters of camouflage

    Scallops usually nestle in seagrass beds with their darker shell side up. One recommended scallop spotting technique is to search the edges of patchy seagrass areas and sandy stretches where they tend to show up better. Bright afternoon sun makes scallop spotting easier as well.

    Like to change neighborhoods

    Some seasons find large numbers of scallops in one spot, the next in a completely different location. Seagrass meadows in relatively shallow water, usually four to ten feet deep, are preferred habitats. Search for them by spotting from above before anchoring.

    Scallops on ice Hernando Beach

    Nice on ice

    Placing scallops immediately on ice is best. Arrange them on a moist towel draped above a cooler with ice; this works well to keep the ice meltwater out of their shells. While on ice, the muscle holding the shell relaxes. The popped-opened shell makes shucking easier.

    Scallop men boys FL Adventure Coast

    Just for fun – not business

    Florida bay scallops can only be harvested by hand during the annual season. Catching for commercial purposes is illegal. Harvest limit is two gallons in the shell, or one pint of scallop meat, per person. Scallop catches must be landed within the official zone.

    Scallop diving on Florida’s Adventure Coast is a summertime thrill. Like a treasure hunt, anyone can participate. Boating, searching, diving, grabbing, collecting, shucking and eating are unforgettable traditions enjoyed by many families and friends year after year. Learn more about scalloping on Florida’s Adventure Coast. 

     Scallop man scallop in hand Floridas Adventure Coast

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