Red Abalone

Red Abalone on Dock
The Red Abalone is the most common of Abalone found on the northern coast of california. Abalone are large shelled snails prized for their meat as a food source. Their iridiscent shells also attract the eyes of inlayers, and guitar luthiers.
Classification

The Red Abalone is in the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Mollusca, Class Gastropoda, Family Haliotidae, Genus haliotis which means sea ear, and species rufescens.

Human Use and EndangermentAbalone Inside

Abalones have been used by humans as a source of food since the beginning. Their meat is high in protein and their shells contain a iridiscent nacre which is prized by many and over harvested for intrinsic rewards. Over time the abalone population has beenabalone insideg decimated and the wild abalone living off the coast of California now number lowly in the 10,000mt down from 18,000, 20 years ago.  Poaching of The Red Abalone is highly prohibited along California's coast. Link to California State Law on Red Abalone

Farming

Abalone farming, to date, has been limited by the quality sand quantity of the macroalgae sources worldwide. A high quality low cost manufactured food has been a recent development. Many new farms are asking Fishtech to design or redesign their equipment and procedures to allow their crop to be grown on 100% manufactured food.
Link to info on Abalone farming

Niche

The Red Abalone is a bottom feeder. They are found on rocky bottoms in intertidal zones, up to 100ft in depth.  It eats algae as a young snail. As it matures its diet shifts to Bull Kelp and Giant Kelp.  Its natural predators are the sea otter and humans.
Link to Abalone related videos.

Anatomy

Anatomy

The anatomy of the Red Abalone is like that of any other sea snail. First off its shell is different from other Gastropods, with a row of respitory pores. It is made up of the same Calcium Carbonate as other Gastropods.  Its muscular foot has strong suction permitting the abalone to clamp to hard surfaces. A column of muscle attaches the body to its shell. The epipodium, a sensory structure and extension of the foot which bears tentacles, is encircled by the mantle. The epipodium goes beyond the shell edge.
Link to general information about the Haliotidae family.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Life Cycle
The Red Abalone broadcast spawn by releasing their respective eggs and sperm into the surrounding sea water. the Zygote develops into a veliger, zooplankton which float around between 7-14 days. The chemical which causes them to settle down is GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) which is created by Coralline algae, and is the first food source for the young abalone.
Link to Information on Reproduction of Abalone