Apr 16, 2009: Blood Oyster

Tideflat Critters


We don't know what this is. And neither did these three graybeards, who between them have nearly a century and a half of experience in the Hood Canal oyster industry: graybeards sideview

Nathan is the only one who wasn't shocked at the bright red bivalve. He said that they grow way out deep and called them "blood oysters." We love that delightfully dramatic name, and will continue to use it,  but the consensus is that it's definitely not an oyster. Are there any scuba divers out there who know what this is? Below is a series of photos showing Jim shucking the red... thing. First he pries it off of a Pacific oyster shell: jingleshellshuck1

...and it comes all the way off. If it had been a real oyster, he would have only been able to pry off the top shell.


The thing used a muscle to attach itself to the oyster shell. Here's the hole through which the muscle passes: red

And here it is fully open: jingleshellshuck3

We've called every expert we could think of to try to get an ID on this creature, but for now we'll have to end this post with a cliff hanger. Stay tuned!

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  • Vicki DeBoer on


    This link should provide information, if you still have a need for that.

  • Vicki DeBoer on

    Pododesmus macrochisma – Alaska jingle – is the name of your mystery bivalve.

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