Links to Barnegat Bay Webites
to Useful Websites
The life cycle
of the Eastern Oyster
oysters reproduce in the wild similar the Northern
Quahog (hard calm)
The Eastern oyster
can grow up to 10 inches in length and can live
to approximately 20 years of age.
their adult lives as males. At any one
time, an oyster is either male or female.
Sperm cells are
much smaller than eggs and require less
metabolic energy to produce.
male oysters release sperm and females release
unfertilized eggs into the bay. Fertilization
takes place in the water column as sperm and egg
the fertilized egg develops the cells divide and
development we see the growth of hair-like
and the embryo becomes a free-swimming larva
known as a trocophore.
the larva begins to develop a shell and foot. In
this stage, the larva is called a veliger.
The larval shell
of the of the umbonate veliger has the
of the oyster.
last phase of the veliger stage is called the
The pediveliger (ped = foot) stage. This is the final
stage prior to settlement and eventual
metamorphosis to juveniles.
a well-developed foot that extends from the
settle to the bottom and can crawl short
distances to find suitable sites for
when the larva cements itself to a hard
substrate (usually oyster shells) and
metamorphoses into a tiny oyster called a
usually refers to a recently metamorphosed
oyster, but the term may be applied to any small
term “seed oyster” may be given to oysters that
are too small to harvest, but
it generally refers to juvenile oysters larger
Fun Fact -
Oysters are active and grows in water
temperature above 40° Fahrenheit. Below this temperature they shut down
University, Marine Extension and Research Center
Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea virginica Richard K. Wallace
2013 Insite Horizons, LLC. All rights reserved.