Large Abalone – Midas Ear
Approx Size: Length 15cm, Height 3cm, Depth 5cm
The Haliotidae – Large Abalone – Midas Ear, Ormers or sea ears – number in excess of 100 species. Most are edible rock dwelling shells found in shallow and deeper waters.
They are also known as muttonfish or mutton shells in Australia, perlemoen in South Africa and PAUA in New Zealand.
Large Abalone – Midas Ear are marine snails. The shells of the Abalones have a low, open spiral structure, and are characterised by several open respiratory spores in a row by the shell’s outer edge. The thick inner layer of the shell is composed of nacre (mother-of-pearl), which in many species is highly iridescent, giving rise to a range of strong, changeable colours, which make the shells attractive as decorative objects.
Abalone can vary in size from 2cm to 20cm although the largest in the species can reach up to 30cm. The shell of Abalones is convex, rounded to oval in shape, and may be highly arched or very flattened. The shell of the majority of the species has a small, flat spire and two to three whorls. The last whorl, known as the body whorl, is auriform, meaning that the shell resembles an ear, giving rise to the common name of “ear shell”.
A mantle cleft in the shell impresses a groove in the shell, in which are the role of wholes characteristic of the genus.
The exterior of the shell is striated and dull. The colour of the shell is very variable from species to species which may reflect the animal’s diet. The iridescent nacre that lines the inside of the shell varies in colour from silvery white to pink, red and green-red to deep blue, green to purple.
They are normally left rough on the outside and have a stunning interior when it catches the light.
These stunning shells can have a number of uses around the home, either just as decoration or for more practical means such as – soap dishes, ring bowls, a tray to display other shells for example.
They would also be good for use in an art project by either a budding photographer or a painter.