The King Scallop is also known as the Great Scallop. It is a large ‘bivalve’ mollusc which means it has a soft body enclosed in two hinged shells, like the Grooved Razor Shell and the Common Cockle. It can be found around most coasts of England in shallow and deep waters on firm sand or on fine and sandy gravel.
The King Scallop can grow up to twenty centimetres in diameter and its two shells have curved ribbed lines running along the surfaces. Both shells are fan-shaped even though the lower shell is deeply curved like a bowl and the upper shell is flat like a lid. The flat top shell is usually a pink or a reddish brown colour and the lower curved shell can be off-white, yellow or light brown. When the shells are slightly opened, a row of small white tentacles can be seen and between the tentacles small black eyes can be detected. The King Scallop uses its tentacles to touch, taste and smell.
King Scallops release their eggs directly into the water where they develop and hatch. The newly hatched larvae become part of zooplankton for about a month before settling on the seabed to develop into adult King Scallops.