From Academic Kids

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Scientific classification

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Scallops are the family Pectinidae of bivalve molluscs. Like the true oysters (family Ostreidae), they have a central adductor muscle, and thus their shells have a characteristic central scar marking its point of attachment. However, the adductor muscle of scallops is smaller than that of oysters. Their shell shape tends to be highly regular and like the standard image of a shell.

Scallops may be attached to a substrate by a structure called a byssus, or cemented to their substrate (eg. Hinnites spp.). They can also be free living. A scallop can swim by rapidly opening and closing its shell. This method of rapidly opening and closing its shell is also a defense technique, protecting it from any threats.



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The Great Scallop (Pecten maximus) on the right, next to the Native Oyster (Ostrea edulis)

Scallops in cooking

Scallops are a popular type of shellfish in both Eastern and Western cooking. They are characterised by having two types of meat in one shell: the scallop (white, meaty) and its coral (orange, soft) which is its roe. Dried scallop is known in Oriental cuisine as conpoy.

The French for a scallop is coquille St. Jacques, which means "cockle (or mollusk) of St. James", and that term also refers to a method of cooking and serving them with the coral, on a shell (real or ceramic) in a creamy wine sauce.

Scallop shells in art and design

The Scallop shell as a religious symbol

The French name for the scallop is coquille St. Jacques and it is so called because the scallop shell is the traditional emblem of Saint James the Great. Medieval Christians making the pilgrimage, known as the Way of St James, to his shrine at Santiago de Compostela often wore a scallop shell symbol on their hats or clothes.

The scallop shell symbol found its way into heraldry as a badge of those who had been on the pilgrimage to Compostela. Among those whose family coat of arms included the scallop was John Wesley, and as a result the scallop shell is used as an emblem of Methodism.

The Scallop shell as a corporate logo

The multinational oil company Royal Dutch-Shell uses a red and yellow scallop shell emblem as its logo.

Gathering scallops

Scallops were traditionally caught by dragging the seabed, but now in British seas there is a trade in scuba diving to catch scallops. Dived scallops tend to fetch better prices than dredged scallops because their shells are not damaged as much and there is much less rubbish mixed with the catch. Also, scallop diving merely removes the scallops and does no other damage, but dragging destroys much seabed life and ruins the grazing for many other sea animals in the area.

Scalloped edges or ridges refers to a wavy pattern reminiscent of the edge of a scallop's fr:Coquille Saint-Jacques ja:ホタテガイ


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