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Oyster History
Lifecycle of a ShanDaph
(Crassostrea virginica)
1. The female and male oysters start to focus their energy on reproduction in the spring to early summer. (Crassostrea virginica are hermaphrodites and switch between female and male throughout their life).
2. The eggs and sperm are released into the water and fertilization occurs. Each female oyster can release millions of eggs and the males even more sperm.
3. Eggs hatch into free-swimming larvae, which spends approximately three weeks in the water column. During that time it starts to develop a shell and grows to approximately 300 microns. Only a fraction of 1 percent of the larvae reaches the next stage of development.
4. The free-swimming larvae seek a suitable substrate to attach themselves to, often referred to as “cultch”. Once the cultch has been found the larvae extends a foot-like gland, which secretes a pool of cement, and the oyster turns on to its left side cementing itself permanently to the object. (If the oyster is broken away from the cultch material it will not cement again, this is a one-time process).
5. The small oyster is then referred to as seed or spat. After a short growout period the spat is removed from the cultch material producing a cultchless oyster.
6. The oyster is then placed in a growth unit and feeds, grows and reproduces until it is at least 76mm or larger. During this time the oysters are cleaned and sorted many times to assure that optimum growth conditions are available for the oyster.
7. Finally a ShanDaph is produced and ready for enjoyment.