12 Spectacular Scallop Facts Every Seafood Lover Should Know

The amazing scallop is one of the sea’s greatest food treasures. This fan-shaped bivalve is an amazing sea creature. Here are some amazing scallop facts that you probably didn’t know. Learn more about scallops with our list of fun scallop facts. Our original list included 12 scallop facts, but we keep adding more!

Scallop Facts
scallop ports USA
US Sea Scallop Ports
  1. Compared to oysters and clams, scallop’s shells are thin and lightweight to aid in swimming. Since scallops can’t dig like clams, its shell also acts as camouflage.
  2. The scallop is the only bivalve mollusk that can “jump” and “swim”.
  3. There are more than 400 species of scallops found around the world.
  4. Scallops are one of the cleanest shellfish available. The abductor muscle is not used to filter water, so scallops are not susceptible to toxins or contaminants they way that clams and mussels are.
  5. Three of the top United Stated sea scallop ports include New Bedford, MA; Cape May, NJ; and Norfolk, VA.
  6. To be officially considered a scallop by the FDA, its moisture content must be less than 80%. STP (sodium tripolyphosphate) is often used by lower quality companies in order to plump up scallops, sometimes up to 30% more.
  7. Unlike mussels and clams, scallops are the only bivalve mollusk that is free-swimming. They swim by quickly opening and closing their shells, propelling themselves forward.
    Swimming Scallops
  8. Scallop Shell Holy Symbol
    The scallop is the universal symbol for several things: the weary traveler; the birth of Venus (the seashell is symbolic of a woman’s vulva); and the crusaders of the Order of St. James. Get a short history lesson of the scallop here.
  9. Scallop each have a row of about fifty bright blue eyes located along the edge of its shell, but they can only detect movement and light.
    Scallop Eyes
  10. Scallops are low in sodium and saturated fats and are more than 80% protein. A 3.5 oz. serving of untreated sea scallops has about 88 calories, 0.8 g fat and 17 grams of protein.
  11. The iconic logo of the Shell Oil Company is none other than a modern version of the Great Scallop.This landmark sign above is located at 187 Magazine St., Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  12. Just one bay scallop can produce up to 2 million eggs.
  13. The 49th Annual Cape Cod Scallop Fest is slated for Sept. 2018 in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Update: The Scallop Fest was recently canceled.
  14. Most bay scallops are hermaphrodites – they have both male and female sex organs – while sea scallops have separate sexes.
  15. The bay scallop is the official state shell of New York. (Learn more about bay scallops here.)
  16. Scallops are filter feeders and eat small organisms out of the water, such as plankton. They can differ in color due to the different types of plankton that they consume.
  17. The buildings in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii were discovered with scallop shell architecture. The scallop shell also appeared on Roman gravestones and caskets.
Shell Scallop Sign
Shell Gas Station, Cambridge, MA Photo courtesy of RoadsideArchitecture.com
Buying Scallop Guide

Now that you are an expert on scallop facts, cook some beautiful dry scallops at home today!

See Also: Scallop 101: All About Scallops

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