Black Oyster Shells on the Beach 3

Black-stained oyster shell right valve inner surface (Ostrea edulis Linnaeus)

A most unusual form of very thick-shelled burial-blackened oyster shell right valve. It looks almost like a set of nesting bowls. It is clearly an old shell – it lived a long time – but it failed to grow much in diameter. All the energies were diverted into increasing the thickness of the shell rather than widening it. This kind of oyster is termed a ‘stunter’. When found in catches from commercially-fished natural or wild oyster beds, this undersized but mature oyster would typically, be returned to the sea bed to grow on. However, they never do achieve the minimum legal size to catch and market. This means that they can breed and potentially produce more specimens of ‘stunters’ should this growth anomaly be inheritable.

Black-stained oyster shell right valve outer surface (Ostrea edulis Linnaeus)

Black-stained oyster shell right valve inner surface (Ostrea edulis Linnaeus)


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About winderjssc

I have a background in ecological studies in both the museum and the research laboratory. I'm passionate about the natural world right on my doorstep and enthusiastic about capturing what I see through photography, wanting to open the eyes of everyone to the beauty and fascination of nature. I am author of Jessica's Nature Blog []. I have also extensively researched macroscopic variations in oyster and other edible marine mollusc shells from archaeological excavations as a means of understanding past exploitation of marine shellfish resources. I am an archaeo-malacological consultant through Oysters etc. where I am publishing summaries of my shell research and other oyster related topics [Oysters etc. at]. Photographic Salmagundi [] is a showcase of photographs and digital art on all sorts of subjects - not just natural history. P.S. The current profile picture was taken in 2015 at Whiteford Sands in Gower where I am kneeling to take pictures of an ancient buried tree trunk emerging from the peat for the first time after submersion by rising sea levels about 6000 years ago.
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