Oysters at a Glance
; ALSO KNOWN AS: The American or Eastern oyster.
; RANGE: Bay oysters are found along the East Coast
from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico.
; REPRODUCTION: Females can produce upwards of
100 million eggs each year.
; INTERESTING FACT: Oysters can change gender.
In their early life, they are males, but by age two
or three they become female and produce eggs.
A single female can spawn 100 million eggs
annually. Also, if a reef has very few males, or young
oysters, female oysters can switch to become male
—a characteristic called simultaneous hermaphroditism—and a sign of an unhealthy reef.
SOURCE CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM u For 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Oysters, visit
The diversity of life on an oyster
reef calls to mind the great coral
reef of the Carribean.