Queen Scallop, Aequipecten opercularis

The Queen Scallop, Aequipecten opercularis is a species of scallop of medium size. It is an edible marine bivalve mollusk belonging to the family Pectinidae.

Being around 7 centimeters in size, this is one of the smaller scallop species that is commercially exploited. The shell of this species is sometimes fairly colorful, and it is also thin and brittle. It features about 20 radiating umbones. The valve on the left is slightly more convex than the valve on the right. One auricle of the right valve is larger than the other which forms a notch near the hinge used by the modified foot in the young scallops to spin byssal threads. The older individuals are free swimming.

This Queen Scallop feeds on a diet of plankton, and is commonly found up to 40 meters below mean sea level, although it has been known to exist up to 400 meters below sea level. This species can be found from Norway south to the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean and is common in the North Sea on beds of sand and gravel.

Image Caption: Queen scallop on board of the RV Belgica. Credit: Hans Hillewaert/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)