Oyster Facts

Facts card
  • Oysters are filter-feeders, drawing water in over their gills through the beating of cilia. Suspended food plankton and particles are trapped in the mucus of the gills and transported to the mouth, where they will be eaten, digested and expelled as feces or psuedofeces.
  • Feeding activity is greatest in oysters when water temperatures are above 50°F (~10°C).
  • Healthy oysters consume algae and other water-borne nutrients, each one filtering up to five liters of water per hour.
  • All oysters are capable of creating pearls, but pearls from edible oysters have no market value. The pearls used in jewlery are from the Feathered Oyster in the Pteriidae family.
  • At Drakes Bay Oyster Company, oysters grow either as singles or in clusters. The singles are grown as individuals from the larval stage. The single oysters are produced in the indoor hatchery located on-farm, and are then moved to the growing area in mesh bags to resist predation from Bat Rays. Clusters are created by setting many larvae on shells saved from the shucking and packing operation. These "mother" shells containing the oyster spat (baby oysters) are then strung together on wires and suspended in Drakes Estero. These cluster oysters are usually shucked and packed in jars in California's last oyster cannery, located on-farm at Drakes Bay Oyster Company.