Abalone (from Spanish Abulón)are small to very large-sized edible sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks in the family Haliotidae and the genus Haliotis. There is only the one genus in the family Haliotidae, and about four to seven subgenera. The number of species recognized worldwide is about 100. The flesh (the adductor muscle) of abalones is widely considered to be a desirable food. Farming of abalone began in the late 1950s and early 1960s in Japan and China. Abalone is also farmed in Australia, Canada, Chile, Iceland, Ireland, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, and the United States.
Abalones are members of a large class (Gastropoda) of molluscs having one-piece, rounded or oval, with a large dome towards one endshells. They belong to the family Haliotidae and the genus Haliotis, which means sea ear, in refference to the flattened shape of the shell. There are many different kinds of Abalones including: Black, Flat, Green, Pink, Pinto, Red, Threaded, Western Atlantic, and White. Most abalones are exported to Japan, either fresh or frozen whole. The U.S. market is primarily in California for live abalone for the sashimi market, and for some fresh and frozen steaks for restaurants. The entire flesh of the abalone is edible.
Abalone belong to the class Gastropoda, other species found in this class include snails, whelks, and sea slugs. Abalones look similar to a snail with a flattened shell. Some people consume abalone and use their shells for decoration, such as a dish for soap. Divers need a permit to take abalone.
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