Haliotis, commonly known as Abalone, was previously a genus that had six subgenera. These subgenres have evolved into different depictions of Haliotis. The genus includes marine gastropod mollusks that range in size from tiny to extremely big and are plant-eating sea snails. Between 30 and 130 species are identified on a global scale.

Other popular names for Abalone include ear shells, sea ears, and, in some regions of Australia, muttonfish or mutton shells. Other names for Abalone include former in the UK, perlemoen in South Africa, and paua in New Zealand.


Abalone is a flattened sea snail that has ear-shaped shells. Abalone’s shell is flat and open instead of the spiral seen in the majority of sea snails. Nacre, which is made up of iridescent layers of plates of the mineral aragonite, is used to thicken the abalone shell. A mantle that secretes a shell, a skull, and a very huge, robust foot around its soft body. 

Close-up of an Abalone shell that looks otherworldly
Close-up of an Abalone shell that looks otherworldly

The epipodium, a sensory organ that is covered in a plethora of tentacles, is the term for the outside border of the foot. Each species of abalone has a different arrangement of tentacles, colors, and patterns on its epipodium. Water is vented via the perlemoen’s gills through a series of distinctive pores in the shell. The Abalone expels all of its waste into the sea through its gill chamber, a region of its body close to these openings.


Abalone consumes seaweed in their native habitat, preferring certain less common types. Although certain seaweeds are more nutrient-dense than others, a varied diet of weeds is generally regarded as ideal. While certain plentiful weeds, like the kelp Laminaria digitata, are sometimes a bulky source of food in the case of the European Abalone or former, delicate red and green weeds are favored.


Abalone lives in rugged habitats containing vegetation in water depths somewhere between 130 and 600 feet. Abalone is found in coastal seas on every continent, with the exception of the Arctic, Antarctica, the Atlantic coast of North America, and the Pacific coast of South America. 

Abalone in its natural habitat sticking to rocks.
Abalone in its natural habitat sticking to rocks

They are uncommon in the low intertidal zone and more prevalent subtidally to approximately. The majority of abalone species live in cold seas, such as those off the coasts of New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Western North America, and Japan.


A dioecious animal, abalone, has individuals of different sexes. Abalones often spawn in the early morning or late afternoon. Males often discharge their sperm first, encouraging females to ovulate. 

The start of the abalone breeding season and how long it lasts depend on the species and are also directly tied to the habitat’s environmental parameters, which are often highly associated with water temperature. A single Abalone release of eggs or sperm typically causes a large number of surrounding gravid animals to spawn. In the open water, the eggs are fertilized. 

Through the second respiratory hole, the gametes are discharged into the saltwater. The female egg-laying process is represented by blue smoke and male ejaculation by a streak of gray smoke. In the first few years of reproduction, young abalone lay a few thousand eggs, but as they get older and bigger, they lay millions of eggs. At one moment, an 8-inch abalone may release 11 million eggs.


Poaching is the main danger to abalone species. Poaching and the trafficking of Abalone have long been linked across the world, with the former frequently being the forerunner to the latter. Abalone species are frequently hunted for their valuable shells and for food. 

Various illnesses can affect Abalones. As much as 90% of the population in the affected areas was reported to have died from ganglioneuritis. Because their fluids do not clot in the event of a laceration or puncture trauma, abalone is also extremely hemophilic. Abalone pests are recognized as belonging to the polychaete family Spionidae.

Smoothed out Abalone shell with rows of holes.
Smoothed out Abalone shell with rows of holes.

Due to overfishing and the acidification of the seas brought on by man-made carbon dioxide, Abalones are one of the many kinds of organisms that are in danger of going extinct. This is because a lower pH erodes their shells.

Facts about the Abalon

  1. Today, aquaculture produces more than 95% of the Abalone population.
  2. Mortality rates for Abalone with shells smaller than a quarter-inch long range from 60% to 99%.
  3. The largest and most desired are Red Abalone.
  4. The blood of an Abalone is blue-green.
  5. By secreting a shell over parasites or bothersome particles, Abalone creates pearls.


What is so special about Abalone?

The Abalone is highly appreciated, extraordinarily tasty, and exquisitely rich flesh is regarded as a culinary delicacy. Abalone is frequently offered live in the shell, frozen, or canned, making it one of the priciest seafood species available. Despite the fact that it may be eaten raw or added to other meals, it is frequently chopped into thick steaks and pan-fried.

Do Abalones make pearls?

Abalone, the most colorful pearl-producing mollusk, is found worldwide in rocky coastal environments. These rock-clinging snails are quite common, yet they hardly ever produce pearls. When they do, an intestine or inner shell disruption is typically the reason why.

Is Abalone a snail or a clam?

As a mollusk, abalone belongs to the same family as clams, mussels, sea slugs, and octopuses. It is a gastropod, which is defined as a “stomach on a foot,” more particularly. It is an ear-shaped sea snail with flattened shells that live in coastal areas all around the world.

Is Abalone venomous?

Abalone doesn’t sting or bite. It doesn’t have fangs or sharp teeth. No toxins, venom, or poisons, It is not swift on foot. On a good day, it may travel a few feet. In fact, it spends decades sitting peacefully in cracks and crevices, quietly munching on kelp.

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