Scallops are a large and varied family of plankton eating filter feeders which are found in all of the world's oceans. Most scallops live on the sandy or rubble seafloor and are capable of rapidly swimming short distances. These are known as 'free-living' scallops, however a few species live cemented to rocks or hard coral skeletons, and a few may even attach themselves to soft corals or seagrass.
Scallops have light coloured, symmetrical, fan-shaped shells which radiate from the valve connection and are often fluted. The shell of a scallop consists of two sides or valves, a left valve and a right one. Most species of scallops rest on their right (lower) valve, and as a result this valve is often deeper and more rounded than the left (upper) valve.
Similar to thorny oysters, scallops have a well developed nervous system and have many small, simple, eyes arranged along the edge of their mantles (the soft flesh around the edges of the shell halves). Scallops rely on their simple eyes to detect movement or shadows which could indicate the approach of potential predators.