How Do Scallops Swim?
One could say that scallops jet-propel themselves through the water. Like oysters and clams, the shells of scallops have two tightly fitting sides, or valves, so they are known as “bivalves.” Most bivalves find a place to live and stay there.
But the scallop is a traveler. It doesn’t fasten itself to rocks or timbers, or form beds on the bottom of the ocean, as do oysters.
Unlike other bivalves like mussels and clams, most scallops are free-swimming. The scallop swims from place to place, by clapping its two shells forcefully together. This expels a jet of water that pushes the scallop forward in funny little zigzag leaps.
Scallops live about one year before either dying off naturally or being eaten by crabs, octopuses, or a variety of shell crushing finfish. Most adult scallops spawn in the fall, and after about two weeks, the swimming larvae attach onto seagrass blades where they continue to grow until late spring to early summer.
They then fall from the grass blades and become free swimmers. Scallops are prolific spawners – a single scallop can produce more than one million eggs per spawn. Because they are so heavily preyed upon, only about one in a million will reach adulthood.