Pearls in the Gulf of Maine

Friday, December 8, 2017 by Catherine

Animals have amazing adaptations to the many challenges they face in the wild. Some even take hardships or unique circumstances and turn them into something beautiful, like a pearl. 

Pearls are formed when a small particle (grain of sand, speck of food, even a parasite) enters the body of a group of animals we call ‘bi-valves.’ Bi-valves are shelled creatures that filter of water through their 2 valves (hence the name.) When something tiny gets trapped within the shell, the animal’s body coats the irritant with layers of “nacre.” This builds up around the particle, forming a pearl! 

Oysters are the bi-valve we usually hear about when it comes to the formation of a pearl, but they’re not the only ones who can do it! Did you know that even Blue Mussels, a species found here in the Gulf of Maine, can make pearls?

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