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Crassostrea gigas
Image courtesy of Melissa Frey, Royal BC Museum
Crassostrea gigas
Taxonomic Group: Mollusks-Bivalves


Crassostrea gigas is commonly known as the Pacific Oyster and is native to the Northwest Pacific including Russia, China, and Korea. It is the most widely cultivated and harvested shellfish species in the world, introduced to at least 52 countries. It has established breeding populations in the Northeast Pacific (US-Canada), Southwest Pacific (Australia-New Zealand), Northeast Atlantic-Mediterranean (Europe), Southwest Atlantic (Argentina-Brazil), and Indian Ocean (South Africa). In introduced locations, C. gigas often starts by being confined to culture areas, with only sporadic and limited reproduction, but later becomes a major biomass component and ecosystem engineer. This process, which has taken 3-10 decades, has occurred in British Columbia, Washington, the North Sea, the Atlantic coast of Patagonia, Hawaii, and Australia. In some cases, C. gigas poses risks to native oyster populations, including competition, hybridization, and introductions of associated organisms (e.g. parasites, fouling species and oyster predators).

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Fofonoff PW, Ruiz GM, Steves B, Simkanin C, & Carlton JT (2018)
National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System.
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Marine Invasions Lab
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

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