Pearls discovered in Algarve oysters

A group of Portuguese researchers has found pearls in oysters growing in various areas of the Algarve.The team described their findings as being incredibly rare and something they had not come across before in their 10 years of observing and studying the species.Made up of researchers Frederico Batista and Ana Grade, of the Tavira Experimental Mollusc-farming Station, which belongs to the IPIMAR institute, and in collaboration with Ms. Deborah Power of the Sea Sciences Centre (CCMAR), the team recently announced they had found pearls in Crassostrea oysters.

Algarve Car Hire and oisters with pearlsOf 756 oysters harvested from different locations across the Algarve, from the Alvor Estuary to the Ria Formosa and Guadiana River, two of them contained pearls.

According to the group one oyster alone contained four pearls, each measuring less than two millimetres in diameter. The other contained a reasonable size single pearl of five millimetres in diameter and weighing 190 milligrams.

This phenomenon is frequently found in other bivalve species, such as oysters from the Pteriidae family, from which pearls can reach a high commercial value.

Pearls are produced by bivalve molluscs and are a defensive reaction by the host to foreign bodies, such as parasites. The invading particle is covered in layers of substance essentially made up of carbonate calcium in the form of aragonite crystals.

As a result of this discovery the team of investigators will now carry out several complementary studies to better understand the phenomenon and understand what factors lead to the development of pearls.


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