The name Oyster is used for a number of different groups of mollusks which grow for the most part in marine or brackish water.
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2 Pearl oysters
3 Other molluscs named "oyster"
4 External links
The "true oysters" are the members of the family Ostreidae, and this includes the edible oysters, which mainly belong to the genera Ostrea, Crassostrea or Saccostrea. Examples are the Edible Oyster, Ostrea edulis and the Eastern Oyster Crassostrea virginica.
Oysters can be eaten either raw or cooked, but like all shellfish they have an extremely short shelf-life. They should be fresh when consumed or serious illness can result. Additionally, oysters can host various illness-causing pathogens. Therefore, consumption of raw oysters should be done with caution. Researchers in Oregon have invented a self-shucking oyster.
Oyster for Christmas celebration
Although all oysters (and, indeed, many other bivalves) can secrete pearls, those from edible oysters are commercially valueless. The Pearl Oysters come from a different family, the Pteriidae (Winged Oysters). Both cultivated and natural pearls are obtained from these oysters, though some other mollusks, for example freshwater mussels, also yield pearls of commercial value.
Other molluscs named "oyster"
A number of other molluscs not falling into either of these groups have common names that include the word "oyster", usually because they either taste or look like oysters, or because they yield noticeable pearls. Examples include:
Family tree of Molluscs