Crassodoma gigantea (Gray, 1825)

Common name(s): Giant rock scallop, Rock scallop, Purple-hinged rock scallop

Synonyms:  Hinnites giganteus, Hinnites multirugosus, Chlamys gigantea
Phylum Mollusca
 Class Bivalvia
  Subclass Pteriomorphia
   Order Ostreoida
    Suborder Pectinina
     Family Pectinidae
Crassodoma gigantea from near NW Island.  Length 12 cm
(Photo by: Dave Cowles, July 2005)
Description:  This large, attached scallop has anterior and posterior extensions or "wings" next to the hinge (may not be obvious), and have radial ridges running from the umbo toward the ventral margin (these may be interrupted or partly obliterated over much of the shell by uneven lumps and encrusting species).  The ridges on young specimens are prominent.  Those on older specimens often have spiny projections.  The valves are thick, almsost circular in outline.  The right valve is permanently cemented to the substrate such as a rock.  The anterior and posterior muscles are united into a single muscle.  In living, open specimens a row of eyes is visible along the edge of the mantle (photo), which is orange.  There is a purple blotch near the hinge on the inside of both valves, which are otherwise white inside.  Diameter to 25 cm.  One other scallop species in the world gets larger, but this species is the worlld's heaviest species of scallop.  Freeliving juveniles have white to orange shells.

How to Distinguish from Similar Species:  Oysters such as Crassostrea gigas may be cemented to rocks but do not have the "wing" extensions near the hinge, nor the radial ridges.  Other scallop species such as Chlamys hastata are not permanently cemented to the rock.  The purple blotch on the inside of the shell near the hinge is distinctive for this species.

Geographical Range:  Prince William Sound, AK to Punta Abreojos, Baja California, Mexico

Depth Range:  Low intertidal to 78 m

Habitat:  On rocky substrates in areas of strong current and the exposed outer coast

Biology/Natural History:  This species sometimes claps its valve shut with a loud "snap", plainly audible in the intertidal zone.  Juveniles (up to nearly 5 cm) are not yet attached.  It takes them about 6 months to grow to this size.  Predators include the seastar Pisaster ochraceous and humans.  The shells are often infested with boring sponges such as Cliona celata and with tubedwelling polychaetes, bryozoans, or coralline algae.  These scallops were used for food by native Americans, and the shells were used as pendants, lip plugs, and nose rings, and in making facial and mask paint, totems, ans images on canoes.  Is sometimes a protandric hermaphrodite (males later become females).  Females are usually larger and more abundant than males.  The testis is white, and the ovary is red.  In Puget Sound it spawns mid-May to mid-June, with some spawning in September.  The larvae (veligers) are planktonic for 2 months.  May live 50 years, but has been depleted from some areas due to human harvesting.

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Dichotomous Keys:
  Flora and Fairbanks, 1966 (as Hinnites multirugosus)
  Kozloff 1987, 1996  (as Hinnites giganteus)
  Smith and Carlton, 1975 (as Hinnites giganteus)

General References:
  Brusca and Brusca, 1978
  Harbo, 1997
  Harbo, 1999
  Gotshall, 1994
  Johnson and Snook, 1955
  Kozloff, 1993
  McConnaughey and McConnaughey, 1985
  Morris, 1966
  Morris et al., 1980
  O'Clair and O'Clair, 1998
  Ricketts et al., 1985
  Sept, 1999

Scientific Articles:

Web sites:

General Notes and Observations:  Locations, abundances, unusual behaviors:

The eyes can be seen along the margin of the mantle when the shell is open

A Crassodoma gigantea attached to a rock.  Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2006

Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2005):  Created original page