Welcome back to Weird Biology and today, we’re going to learn about an animal with some gorgeous blue eyes to match any blonde girl from back home. Are you picturing a bird? Maybe a snake if you’re a reptile fan? Well, surprise! It’s-
And it’s the prettiest ball of snot with a shell that you ever did see! It’s also delicious, and you’ve almost certainly eaten it before. Yum!
The actual animal is a bivalve mollusk possessing a very distinctive and beautiful shell, as well as two rows of bright blue fully functional nightmare eyes about the size of the head of a pin. They can see fairly well with these eyes, which they use to detect and avoid threats such as starfish and hungry humans with clam knives. (They’re better at avoiding the former.)
We’d feel bad, but they’re so delicious.
Scallops are also among the only mollusks to have an exit strategy. Once they’ve identified an incoming threat, they clap the two halves of their shells together so hard that the surrounding water is ejected out the back of their shell. This causes the Scallop to rocket violently away via jet power and looks about as hilarious as it sounds.
This strategy is far less effective when the incoming threat has opposable thumbs, and a hankerin’ for those sweet sweet Scallop meats. (Again, we would feel bad, but DELICIOUS.) The shells are also very nice, commonly used as mermaid bras and tacky beach memorabilia. Scallops are now farmed by humans in huge numbers, and these farms provide habitat for countless species of other animals. In addition, scallops have a side effect of purifying ocean water, since they filter out particles when they feed. What I’m saying is, there’s no reason not to eat these guys. Go buy a bag at your local supermarket right now! It’s what the Scallop would want, probably.
Eaaat meeeee I'm deliciousssss
1. Matthew Krummins, Wikimedia Commons
2. Ben Sutherland, Flickr
3. Christian Gloor, Flickr