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Oyster Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Grace Miller

Mary Grace has taught first grade for 8 years and has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and is licensed in ESL.

You might have seen oysters on a food menu, but have you ever wondered what kind of animal they are? In this lesson, you'll learn all about the diet, habitat, and life cycle of oysters.

What Are Oysters?

Hi! I'm Ollie the oyster, and I'll be teaching you all about myself and other oysters like me. Have you ever wondered what kind of animal an oyster is? We're a special kind of creature called a mollusk. Mollusks are animals that do not have backbones, have soft bodies, and usually have shells.

All oysters have shells that are usually shaped like ovals or pears, though each different type of oyster's shell looks a little different. They are grayish white on the outside and bright white on the inside.

Pacific oyster shell
oyster

There are 5 species, or kinds, of oysters categorized by where they live:

  • Pacific oysters (or Japanese oyster) live along the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Asia.
  • Kumamoto oysters also live along the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Asia.
  • European flat oysters live along the coasts of western and southern Europe.
  • Atlantic oysters are found along the East Coast of the United States.
  • Olympia oysters are named after Olympia, the capital city of Washington. They grow in the northwestern United States.

Where Do Oysters Live?

My family and other oysters lives in the ocean in shallow waters. That's why you might see our shells washed up on the seashore! We live together in groups called colonies, though sometimes our groups are called oyster beds or oyster reefs. We can be found in most of the world's oceans.

An oyster bed
oyster

Naturally, the ocean is where we find our food. My oyster friends and I like to eat algae, which is a type of plant material that lives in the water. We use our gills, or slits on our sides, to get the small particles of algae out of the water.

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