Calico scallops are smaller and less expensive their cousin, the bay scallop. Because calico scallops are harvested in vast quantities they are not shucked by hand but are steamed to open their shells. Calico scallop meat can be identified by its whitened edges which have been partially cooked by the steaming.
This species grows up to three inches in maximum width, and is similar in shape and sculpturing to the Atlantic bay scallop. Both valves of the shell are cupped. The shell near the hinge is extended into "ears", as is the case in all scallops. The shell of the Atlantic calico scallop has about twenty radial ribs, which are sometimes roughened by growth lines.
The exterior coloration of the upper (left) valve is dark yellow or pink, with striking blotches of red which sometimes form stripes. The lower (right) valve of this scallop is whitish with small reddish or purple spots. It has a white interior, often with brown patches on the "ears" and top edge.
Selecting and Buying
Atlantic calico scallop, Argopecten gibbus (Linnaeus)
This species ranges from Delaware to Brazil and is still sometimes fished commercially.