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Crassostrea virginica   (Gmelin, 1791)

American cupped oyster

Native range | All suitable habitat | Point map | Year 2100
This map was computer-generated and has not yet been reviewed.
Crassostrea virginica   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Crassostrea virginica (American cupped oyster)
Picture by Lietor, Jose

Classification Common names | Synonyms | CoL | ITIS | WoRMS

Bivalvia | Ostreoida | Ostreidae

Main reference References | Biblio | Coordinator | Collaborators

Carpenter, K.E. (ed.). 2002. (Ref. 271)

Size / Weight / Age

Max length : 30.0 cm SHH male/unsexed; (Ref. 271); max. reported age: 2 years (Ref. 2823)


Benthic; brackish; depth range 0 - 79 m (Ref. 83435)

Climate / Range


Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Introductions

Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Pacific.

Short description

Diagnostic features: Shell thick and heavy, usually narrow and elongate, but extremely variable in shape. Upper valve flatter, smaller than lower valve; lower valve convex. Shell shape and outline variable. Shell margins undulating straight. Umbones long and curved. Colour: dirty to light grey, internally white with muscle scar deep purple (Ref. 271).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

It has a total length of 30 cm. Fisheries: It suffers from overexploitation and contamination by organic pollutants; consumed raw, fried, grilled, boiled; canned industrially (Ref. 271). Aquaculture: Increased production is based on the triploid method (using gametes from hatcheries), wherein tetraploid males are used to fertilize eggs from diploid females instead of chemical or physical stress to produce triploids (Refs. 101295, 101299). Oysters can be grown to market size (7.6 cm) in a span of 6 months (Ref. 96250). Attached to rocks, other oyster shells, or other hard substrates (Ref. 271). Favors estuaries and embayments with low salinities and are intolerant of prolonged exposure to fresh water or marine conditions. They may either be filter feeders (Ref. 96280) or suspension feeders (Ref. 3248). Found in shallow water of tidal to subtidal depth of fairly constant turbidity and salinity (Ref. 3248) and salt marshes (Ref. 2823). Main sources of food are phytoplankton, suspended detritus particles (Ref. 96280) and bacteria (Ref. 101343). Able to regulate its feeding rates based on differences in size, type and composition of the food source (Ref. 96280). Gonochoristic (separate male and females). After external fertilization, the developing larvae or veliger settles to the bottom after a time in the plankton stage. First spawning usually occurs when oyster is two years of age (Ref. 3248).

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 114614)


CITES status (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: commercial
FAO(Aquaculture: production, fisheries: production) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

Internet sources

BHL | BOLD Systems | Check for other websites | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | DiscoverLife | FAO(Aquaculture: species profile; fisheries: species profile; publication : search) | GenBank (genome, nucleotide) | GOBASE | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | ispecies | National databases | PubMed | Scirus | Sea Around Us | FishBase | Tree of Life | uBio | uBio RSS | Wikipedia (Go, Search) | Zoological Record

Estimation of some characteristics with mathematical models

Vulnerability (Ref. 71543)
Low to moderate vulnerability (27 of 100)
Price category (Ref. 80766)