Mangrove oyster

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Mangrove oyster
Mangrove oysters on mangrove trees in Carabane
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Order: Ostreoida
Family: Ostreidae
Genus: Crassostrea
Species: C. gasar
Binomial name
Crassostrea gasar

The mangrove oyster (Crassostrea gasar) is a true oyster in the Ostreidae family.


The mangrove oyster is found in tropical intertidal zones. It grows on the bark of the stilt sections of mangrove trees, which are exposed during low tides and covered during high tides. It can also be found on some other suitable intertidal substrates in its range. This oyster has evolved to survive exposed to the air during low tides. The mangrove oyster is found on Caribbean and Atlantic South American shorelines.[1] and West African shorelines.[2]

History and Culture[edit]

Sir Walter Raleigh, as part of an expedition to Guyana, famously encountered the mangrove oyster near Pitch Lake during his stopover in Trinidad. In his later account of this journey, Raleigh described the mangrove oyster as more delicious than the European oyster. Raleigh also cited Pliny and Andre Thevet's French Antartique as prior descriptions of mangrove oysters in European texts.[3]

Raleigh's widely-read account of the expedition, which had intended to find El Dorado, the mythical city of gold, included many exaggerated claims about the region.[4] Due to this context, Raleigh's relatively accurate description of oysters growing on tree branches has been met with incredulity by generations of readers.[5]

Mangrove oysters are eaten in Trinidad and Tobago as part of the traditional cuisine. In many cases on the halfshell or in a cocktail, with a tomato ketchup based sauce flavoured with culantro and hot peppers.[6]


  1. ^ Lenz T, Boehs G (March 2011). "Ciclo reproductivo del ostión de manglar Crassostrea rhizophorae (Bivalvia: Ostreidae) en la Bahía de Camamu, Bahia, Brasil" [Reproductive cycle of the mangrove oyster Crassostrea rhizophorae (Bivalvia: Ostreidae) in Camamu Bay, Bahia, Brasil]. Revista de Biología Tropical (in Spanish) 59 (1): 137–49. PMID 21516642. 
  2. ^[full citation needed]
  3. ^ Walter Raleigh, The Discovery of Guiana (1595)[page needed]
  4. ^ Edmund Gosse, Raleigh (1886)[page needed]
  5. ^ Raleigh Trevelyan, Sir Walter Raleigh: Being a True and Vivid Account of the Life and Times of the Explorer, Soldier, Scholar, Poet, and Courtier--The Controversial Hero of the Elizabethian Age (Macmillan, 2002)[page needed]
  6. ^ J. S. Kenny, The Biological Diversity of Trinidad and Tobago: A Naturalist's Notes (Prospect Press, 2008)[page needed]