Oysters in hands

These oysters were harvested from an aquaculture operation in Virginia's portion of the Chesapeake Bay. 

Take this quiz to gather pearls of wisdom about oysters. Answers are below.

1. The word “Chesapeake” comes from an Algonquian word thought to mean:

A. Great Shellfish Bay

B. Half Shell Heaven

C. Mother of Oysters

D. Bay of Oyster Reefs

2. Oysters are a bivalve mollusk, which means they have two hard shells made of calcium and carbon. Which of these is not a bivalve mollusk?

A. Barnacle

B. Cockle

C. Mussels

D. Scallops

3. Oyster reefs create habitat for many creatures. Which of these species are found on or near an oyster reef?

A. Anemone, barnacles, shrimp

B. Croaker, flounder, spot

C. Striped bass, menhaden, speckled trout

D. All of the above

4. The oystercatcher is known to smash oyster shells on a rock to get at the tasty creature inside. What kind of animal is an oystercatcher?

A. Bird

B. Crab

C. Mammal

D. Octopus

5. All oysters can create pearls by covering a piece of sand or other irritant in a smooth secretion to protect its soft tissues. Why don’t we find pearls in Chesapeake oysters?

A. They are harvested before they form pearls.

B. They’re there. We don’t recognize them because Chesapeake oysters’ secretion lacks the substance that creates the luster we associate with pearls.

C. Shuckers remove the pearls before serving oysters to the public.

D. The Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay lack the proper irritants to cause an oyster to form a pearl.

6. Oyster larvae prefer to attach to oyster shells to grow, but they will use other surfaces, too. Which of these have been used to create artificial oyster reefs?

A. Old toilets

B. Balls made with concrete and human cremains

C. Old subway cars

D. All of the above

7. Young oysters in the larvae stage start out mobile. Once they attach to a hard surface on which they will transform into adults, what are they called? 

A. Shellies

B. Oystettes

C. Nacres

D. Spat

8. Before an oyster larvae attaches to a hard surface, it drops to the bottom and develops a light-sensitive eyespot and an appendage that helps it crawl toward a suitable surface. After it attaches, the appendage is absorbed back into the oyster. What is the name for this appendage?

A. Foot

B. Pedal

C. Slider

D. Velopper

9. What is an oyster shell without the animal inside called?

A. Box

B. Kaboom

C. Shelly

D. Slurpt


1. A   2. A   3. C   4. A   5. B   6. D   7. D   8. A   9. A


Kathleen Gaskell is the Bay Journal's copy and layout editor and author of the Chesapeake Challenge. Contact Kathleen at kgaskell@bayjournal.com.

(1) comment


Question 4's answer is incorrect.

Unfortunately, Question 4 list two "C" answers.

C. Striped bass, menhaden, speckled trout

C. All of the above

The correct answer should be "all of the above" which should be preceded by "D" not "C".

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