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Oysters are filter-feeding bivalve mollusks, which means they obtain their food by filtering small particles from the water. Their diet primarily consists of phytoplankton, microscopic algae, and other organic matter suspended in the water.
Baby oysters, known as oyster spat or seed, are produced through the reproductive cycle of adult oysters. During reproduction, male and female oysters release eggs and sperm into the water, where fertilization occurs. The resulting larvae, carried by currents, eventually settle on surfaces like shells or rocks. After attachment, they undergo metamorphosis into spat, developing shells and growing into sessile adults. Oyster farmers use various methods to capture wild spat or cultivate them in hatcheries for aquaculture. Environmental cues, species, and regional factors influence the process.
Identifying a bad oyster isn’t as simple as an egg test, but some pointers can help. According to our oyster experts, if an oyster remains open when touched or lacks freshness, discard it. Likewise, a strong sulfuric or rotten odour and extreme dryness are signs to avoid. Disposal or composting is advisable for such oysters.
The time it takes for oysters to grow from spat (young oysters) to a marketable size can vary widely depending on factors such as water temperature, food availability, oyster species, and the specific farming methods used. In favourable conditions, oysters can reach a harvestable size in about 3 to 5 years.