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Oysters are generally ambisexual, starting life as males then changing back and forth between the two sexes as their life progresses.

In 1868, Maryland, USA instituted a State Oyster Police Force to enforce oyster laws. There is no such force in Jamaica, where one species of oyster lives in trees.

In 1808 a UK law was passed making theft of oysters punishable by transportation or prison.

The close season for oysters in Britain is 15 June to 4 August. Oyster Day (also known as Old St James's Day) is 5 August.

The last words of the Duc de Lanzon de Biron before he was guillotined in 1793 were: 'I beg a thousand pardons, my friend, but permit me to finish this last dozen of oysters.'

"Molly the Whistling Oyster" was a great success in 1840 at a tavern near London's Drury Lane Theatre.

The place was renowned for its seafood, and on one occasion when the proprietor went to collect some oysters from a tank, a strange whistling noise was heard.

The oyster making the noise was identified, and it was given its own tank and food and promptly became a celebrity.

Nobody quite knew how the whistling sound was made, but it was conjectured that it came through water being ejected through a small hole in the shell.

Such was the popularity of the mollusc that the tavern changed its name to "The Whistling Oyster".

A baby oyster is called a spat.

In March 2005, Sonya Thomas set a new world record at the Acme Oyster House World Oyster Eating Competition by consuming 46 dozen oysters in ten minutes. This shattered the old record of 18 dozen oysters set by Boyd Bulot in 2003. In 2006, Sonya Thomas also won the World Grilled Cheese Eating Championship by eating 26 grilled cheese sandwiches in ten minutes.

Worldwide, around two billion pounds of oysters are eaten every year.

The Acme Oyster House World Oyster Eating Championship is recognised as one of the majors on the International Federation of Competitive Eating circuit.


Unverified oyster-eating claims include that of the Roman emperor Vitellius, reputed to have eaten 1,000 oysters in a day.

Casanova recommended eating 50 oysters for breakfast. In 2005, research supported the view that oysters may have an aphrodisiac quality. Analysis showed that they contain rare amino acids that have been linked to reproductive success, but levels of these amino acids are highest in spring, when the oysters are breeding.

Only about one in 10,000 oysters contains a pearl.

The verb 'to shuck', meaning to remove the shell from an oyster, was first recorded in 1881. The saying "the world's your oyster" comes from Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor: "The world's mine oyster. Which I with sword will open."

"He was a bold man that first eat an oyster", (Jonathan Swift, Polite Conversation, 1738).

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