Rare oysters found – 12/01/06
Seven wing-oysters on the inside of a blue barrel cut open. That was an extraordinary discovery by researcher Rob Witbaard of the Dutch Institute for Sea Research during a walk on the Hors, the most southern point of Texel. The shellfish have probably traveled on the barrel from southern England or perhaps they even came all the way from the Iberian Peninsula. These are the nearest places where wing-oysters live.
Because the shells had attached themselves to the inside of the barrel, they beached intactly, despite the violence of the recent storm. Some bay mussels and barnacles were also attached to the barrel.
Oyster with wings
Wing-oysters are delicate thin-walled shells with a particular shape, it looks like they have wings. The exterior of the shell is greenish brown, but that’s often difficult to see because of the many small animals growing there. Bryozoans, sea squirts and polyps find a solid surface on the wing-oyster shell and like to attach themselves to it. The wing-oyster itself also likes a solid surface, they usually attach themselves to a rock, a piece of gorgonian or …. to a floating barrel.
It seems that this species has only once before been found on Dutch soil. Then a piece of shell was discovered on a rope on the beach of Egmond. The specimens found on the Hors did not die long ago, there was still dried meat in the shells.