National Fried Scallops Day is observed annually on October 2nd.
A scallop is a common name which is applied to many species of marine bivalve mollusks in the family Pectinidae. Scallops are a cosmopolitan family and are found in all of the world’s oceans.
Many scallops are highly prized as a food source, and the name scallop is also applied to the meat of the scallops when it is used as seafood.
Although they may not look like it, scallops are animals. They are in the Phylum Mollusca, a group of animals that also includes snails, sea slugs, octopi, squid, clams, mussels and oysters.
- Scallops are in the group of mollusks called the bivalves. These animals have two hinged shells that are formed of calcium carbonate.
- Scallops have about 60 eyes that line its mantle. These eyes may be a brilliant blue color, and allow the scallop to detect light, dark and motion.
- Atlantic sea scallops can have very large shells – up to 9″ in length. Bay scallops are smaller, growing to about 4 inches.
- Unlike the mussel and the oyster, the scallop cannot close and seal its shell completely and so can only survive in the deeper, full salinity sea water. Their intolerance of fresh water means that they are not found in intertidal waters except at exceptionally low spring tides.
- In 1280 Marco Polo recorded that scallops were sold in the market in Hangchow, China.
- Each ring on a scallop’s shell represents a year of growth, although a ring might also record a stressful incident in the scallop’s life.
- In early Christian times, the scallop shell was often incorporated into baptismal fonts as a symbol of rebirth.
- A scallop shell was carried by pilgrims to Santiago de Compostella and served both as a symbol of the pilgrimage as well as a drinking cup. Santiago de Compostella was built on the traditional burial site of St James the Great Sanctus (Jacobus in Latin) and became the third most important pilgrimage in Christendom after Jerusalem and Rome.