You are currently viewing Difference Between Abalones and Oysters

Difference Between Abalones and Oysters

Are you finding it hard to differentiate between abalones and oysters? 

In many parts of the world, these shellfishes are enjoyed as delicacies.

They are often eaten in restaurant where the the meat is served together with their shells.  

These shellfishes belong to a larger population of shell bearing sea organisms known as mollusks..

Abalones and oysters are highly nutritious, and they are also good sources of proteins, minerals and vitamins.

In this post we explore the differences between these two shellfishes.

Abalone vs oyster

These two mollusks belong to different families, Abalones are members of the Haliotidae family, while true oysters are of the Ostreidae family


Oysters are bivalve mollusks while Abalones are univalve.

This means that the shells of oysters have two parts or valves with a hinge holding the two valves together. The two valves have different shapes, the bottom valve is usually flat, and the other is convex

The valves form a water tight seal which the oysters open up to feed and remove waste.

The shells of abalones are spiral-shaped and flattened. Abalones also have small holes around the edges of the shells.


Abalones are found in coastal waters. Although some are farmed

Oysters can also be found salt water as well as brackish water. Some oysters can also be found in fresh waters and some are also farmed domestically.


Oysters are sessile. Their thin, delicate bodies are enclosed within their tough shells.

Abalones have a muscular foot which it uses to attach to surfaces, move and also to feed.


The taste of abalone taste is often described as buttery and salty. 

Oysters have complex flavors, their flavor profile depends on the variety of oyster, and it may range from salty, buttery, earthy and even sweet.


Oysters are very tender and also slimy. People often eat oysters by slurping them shells because of how tender they are.

Abalones have a chewy texture, and they can be tough if not prepared properly.

What is an abalone?

The abalone is one of the most prized shellfish in the world, 

These sea snails are univalves belonging to the “Haliotidae” family.

It can be found in Australia, South Africa, and the California coast. 

Abalone is eaten all over the world, however, the population of this shellfish is declining as a result of over-fishing and pollution.

This shellfish has a spiral shell from which the large muscular foot of the abalone protrudes.

Abalone is shucked and the meat is tenderized by pounding it.

They can be prepared in a variety of ways. Abalones can be grilled, pan-fried, they can also be steamed, braised or eaten raw.

Due to their high demand, this shellfish is also expensive.

Abalones are available fresh, they can also be canned.

What are oysters?

Oysters are bivalve mollusks from the family Ostreidae.

As bivalves, the shells of the organisms have two part of slightly different shaped which they open and close to feed.

The exterior of both shells has a rough surface while the inner surfaces the shell are are smooth and white. 

The flesh is flavorful and also rich in proteins.

Oysters can be boiled, baked, fried, smoked, or steamed. They may also be used in stews and chowders 

Spanish paella and Italian linguine alle vongole are dishes where oysters are used

Oysters can also be eaten raw, the raw oysters are usually served on the half shell and garnished with lemon juice, vinegar or cocktail sauce

Types of oysters 

There are different types of oysters, 

True oysters are bivalve mollusks of the Ostreidae family.

Some oysters belong to the Aviculidae family. These oysters are not edible but harvested for pearls.

The pearls are produced within the mantle of these oysters.

The pearls are produced by thee accumulation of nacre which is the produced in the inner layer of the oyster shell.

Pearls are also formed in edible oysters but they are lusterless. 


Shellfishes are a sought-after delicacy. They are often found on the menus of fine dining cuisine.

Abalone is not as popular as oysters, they are also quite expensive which can be attributed to their declining populations 

The population of oysters are also suffering a decline due to overfishing, diseases and pollution 

Oysters are filter feeders, as they open up their shells, they get their food and oxygen from the water that flows through.

This process also gets rid of some of the impurities in the water, keeping the ocean clean and clear.