Q:

How do oysters reproduce?

A:

Quick Answer

Oysters reproduce by releasing sperm and eggs into the water. Within six hours, fertilized eggs develop into larvae, which become fully shelled within 12 to 24 hours and are ready to attach themselves to a solid substrate within three weeks.

Know More
How do oysters reproduce?
Credit: Andrew Geiger Photodisc Getty Images

Full Answer

Some species of oysters have separate sexes, but their reproductive organs contain both sperm and eggs. They are able to change sex from year to year. Some oysters are hermaphrodites and theoretically can fertilize their own eggs. When food is abundant, females are prevalent, but when food is scarce, there are more males. Spawning is temperature-dependent, and occurs at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Females release millions of eggs at a time.

When an oyster larva is ready to settle, it grows a foot and finds a place to establish itself. Usually this is an adult oyster shell that is part of an oyster bed, but it might also be broken oyster or clam shells. The young oyster, known as a spat, cements itself to the new surface and slowly metamorphoses into an adult oyster. Oyster beds sometimes form reefs that create complex ecologies, stabilizing bottom sediment, creating breakwaters for shorelines, filtering and cleaning water and creating habitats for a great variety of marine wildlife, including barnacles, sea anemones, worms, crabs and an abundance of fish.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    How does an octopus reproduce?

    A:

    Female octopuses reproduce by first fertilizing their eggs with the sperm from a male and then depositing and caring for her eggs. The young octopuses, however, must care for themselves. They must secure food and avoid predators in order to grow, mature and eventually reproduce themselves.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do oysters move?

    A:

    Oysters often get moved around because of waves and other sea creatures. Oysters are unable to move on their own.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where do oysters live?

    A:

    Oysters are most often found along the Atlantic Coasts and the Gulf of Mexico in North America. They live in estuaries, bays, tidal creeks and even in sounds. Oysters can survive in brackish- to full-strength seawater.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do dolphins mate?

    A:

    Dolphins mate in much the same way as humans by expressing sexual attraction and desire, and when the time is right, the male enters the female to deposit his sperm. Unlike human mating, the actual dolphin mating process only lasts a few seconds.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore