Shellfish Image Gallery

This photo gallery was designed to assist local county food and lodging specialists and others interested in basic identification of molluscan shellfish. Included are photographs and descriptions of various shellfish as well as unusual organisms sometimes found associated with shellfish and crabs.

Each entry includes photographs and a brief description as well as the typical growing range or source of the shellfish. The public health significance of each shellfish is also discussed. Source control, typically in the form of required tags or labels that indicate an approved source, is the primary step in ensuring that raw shellfish are safe for consumption. However, even shellfish from approved sources can be mishandled after receipt, which can result in an increased risk of illness to the consumer. For the purposes of this gallery, shellfish commonly produced and shipped from approved sources are noted as "approved for human consumption." Please note that this designation assumes that the shellfish products so noted are obtained from approved sources and handled according to N.C. Rules Governing the Sanitation of Shellfish (15A NCAC 18A .0300-.0900) and N.C. Rules Governing the Sanitation of Food Service Establishments (15A NCAC 18A .2600).

This gallery was not designed to be a scientific field guide to the various shellfish and organisms discussed but rather a general reference for the more common shellfish and associated organisms. All photographs were provided by N.C. Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality Section staff.

Click on the photographs to view descriptions


Shellfish Image Gallery



Asiatic Clam

Blood Arkshell Cl


Blue Mussel


Eastern Elliptio


Giant Clam, Geoduck




Mahogany Clam


Manila Clam


Eastern Oyster


Ponderous Ark , Blood Ark


Razor Clam


Soft Shell Clam, Steamer Clam


Surf Clam

The following are examples of unusual or unique conditions sometimes associated with shellfish and crabs that can result in questions and concerns from the consuming public.

Click on the photographs to view descriptions

Unusual Conditions


Crab Leeches


Green Gill


Oyster Mud Blisters


Oyster Worms


Pea Crab