Species Account

Ostrea edulis Linnaeus,1758

Ostreoidea : Ostreidae

Tebble name: Ostrea edulis Linnaeus
Smith & Heppell name: Ostrea edulis L.,1758 1758

To size: To 100mm. Shell Structure: Solid becoming heavy. Equivalve: Inequivalve; lower valve shallowly cupped; upper valve flat. Equilateral: Inequilateral. Outline: Irregularly subcircular to suboval; lower valve with irregular extensions and irregularly fluted, upper valve more regular.

Sculpture: Upper valve with irregular co-marginal ridges, some radial ribbing and often foliaceous; lower valve with stronger radiating ribs and riblets with scales at intersections with co-marginal ridges. Margin: Ostreiine chomata on margins close to ligament, smooth elsewhere. Ligament: Alivincular, internal on a shallow triangular resilifer. Pallial Musculature: Adductor scar kidney shaped, colour as shell, white. Colour: Upper valve mostly yellowish through pale brown to greenish brown with darker to purplish markings. Lower valve similar but paler. Internal white.

Distribution & Ecology

Cemented to hard substrates and forming dense beds from low in the intertidal to 50m. On all coasts but now severely depleted (especially in the North Sea) in the wild but extensively cultured on south and west coasts.
The current status of this species in the UK can be found at <http://www.ukbap.org.uk/UKPlans.aspx?ID=495>

Depth Range
Continental Shelf (to 200m)

Additional Information & Related Species

Key Features & Similar Species

Generally more circular in outline and flatter than Crassostrea and never has a pigmented adductor scar.

Related Species


Listed are literature citing Ostrea edulis Linnaeus,1758. Reference containing the species Type Description is highlighted.

Linnaeus C 1758. Systema Naturae. Editio decima. 1. Regnum Animale Holmiae, Laurentii Salvii. 824pp.


  • Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland
    Provides resources for understanding, identifying, recording, and conserving molluscs
    Check List of European Marine Mollusca
  • MarLIN
    The Marine Life Information Network for Britain and Ireland (MarLIN) provides information for marine environmental management, protection and education. It is a centre of excellence in spatially based and time-series marine biological information and supports good stewardship in the marine environment.
  • NBN Gateway
    National Biodiversity Network's Gateway. Use it to explore UK biodiversity data, as contributed by participating data providers.
  • BivAToL
  • MarBEF
  • Malacological Society
  • Unitas Malacologica
  • Census of Marine Life
  • MarBEF
    MarBEF, a network of excellence funded by the European Union and consisting of 94 European marine institutes, is a platform to integrate and disseminate knowledge and expertise on marine biodiversity, with links to researchers, industry, stakeholders and the general public.

Record last modified: 17/05/2016