Fun & Easy Science for Kids
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Shellfish aren’t really fish, but animals that live in water. They include oysters, mussels, clams, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, and crayfish. Shellfish were a major food source for Native Americans living on the East Coast. Early colonists soon learned how to hunt for oysters and mussels.


Fun Facts

  • Oysters can change their gender. Yep, they can change from girl to boy – or vice versa.
  • Humans eat about two billion pounds of oysters every year.
  • Oysters are very healthy food source, they are loaded with vitamin C, D, and the B vitamins. They’re also a good source of calcium, iron, and phosphorus.
  • Clams can live up to 35 years. The giant clam can live for 150 years or longer!
  • Clams are high in protein and iron. They’re delicious in stews and chowders.
  • Lobsters sometimes eat their young.
  • Most shellfish are a nutritious source of protein and calcium. Some people are highly allergic to them though.
  • Each region of the East Coast seems to have its shellfish specialty. Maine, for example, is known for its lobsters. Maryland is known for crab and crab cakes. In the southeast and the Gulf of Mexico, shrimp boats are a major part of the economy.



  1. Shellfish: an animal with an exoskeleton – or hard shell on the outside of its body
  2. Chowder: A soup usually made from potatoes, vegetables, and shellfish
  3. Crab cake: a fried biscuit containing crab


Questions and Answers

Question: Are shellfish expensive?

Answer: Most shellfish is a little expensive. Lobsters are truly extravagant. In the colonial era, though, lobster was so widely available that it was often served to prisoners and slaves. Prisoners got so sick of eating lobster that a rule was finally made which said that lobster could be served no more than three times a week.


Learn More

Would you like to go “clamming” (hunting for clams)? This video shows you how.



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