Mother-of-pearl

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abalone shell

Mother-of-pearl

There is
        much to be learned from
                the simplicity of the abalone,
        an edible mollusc, housed in
                an ear-shaped, mother-of-pearl

shell
        in which there are
                up to nine respiratory pores.
        Its muscular foot has strong
                suction power permitting it

to clamp
        tightly to rocky surfaces.
                The abalone lives and breathes
        sex since its eggs and sperm
                are broadcast into the water

through
        its pores, along with its respiratory
                current. Crabs, lobsters, gastropods,
        octopuses, sea stars, and sundry fish all
                prey on juvenile abalones.

22 November 2004

John Lyons


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