Abalone

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66, see species section.

Marinauris Iredale, 1927
Nordotis Habe & Kosuge, 1964
Padollus Montfort, 1810
Sanhaliotis Iredale, 1929

Abalone (from Spanish abulón) are small to very large-sized edible sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks in the family Haliotidae and the genus Haliotis. Common names for abalones also include ear-shells, sea ears, as well as muttonfish or muttonshells in Australia, ormer in Great Britain, perlemoen and venus's-ears in South Africa and pāua in New Zealand.[3]

The family Haliotidae contains only one genus, Haliotis. That genus contains about four to seven subgenera. The number of species recognized worldwide is about 100.

The shells of abalones have a low and open spiral structure, and are characterized by several open respiratory pores in a row near the shell's outer edge. The thick inner layer of the shell is composed of nacre or mother-of-pearl, which in many species is highly iridescent, giving rise to a range of strong and changeable colors, which make the shells attractive to humans as decorative objects, and as a source of colorful mother-of-pearl.

The flesh of abalones is widely considered to be a desirable food, and is consumed raw or cooked in a wide variety of dishes.

Contents

Description

The shell of abalones has a convex, rounded to oval shape, and may be highly arched or very flattened. It is generally ear shaped, presenting two to three whorls. The last whorl (known as the body whorl) is auriform such that the shell resembles an "ear", giving rise to the common name ‘ear-shell’. It also has a series of holes near the anterior margin, that are in fact respiratory pores that are used for the escape of water from the gills. There are four to ten of them, depending on the species. Abalones have no operculum.[citation needed]

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