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Scallops are bivalves; they have two hard shells and a soft body. They are benthic animals; they spend most of their time on the sea bottom. Scallops mostly stay in underwater grass beds on a soft, shallow sea floor. Scallops use jet propulsion to move; they quickly open and close their shells, squirting the water out of the shells, moving in spurts. These invertebrate animals have a life span of about 1 1/2 years.

Anatomy: The two hard shells (also called valves) are attached by a muscular hinge called the adductor muscle The Bay Scallop is about 3 inches (8 cm) in diameter; other scallops can reach 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. The shell is secreted by the mantle, which is a thin sheet of tissue located between the shell and the body. Scallops have many primitive eyes; they can only sense changed in light and motion, helping them to detect predators.

Diet: Scallops eat microscopic food, like algae and plankton that floats through the water.

Predators of the Scallop:Many animals eat scallops, including sea stars, crabs, and people.

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