Seafood Handbook Shellfish Page

The Seafood Handbook is the most comprehensive seafood directory available online. Featuring more than 100 of the most common seafood species in the U.S. market, the Seafood Handbook is the ultimate guide to seafood sourcing and preparation, brought to you by the editors of SeaFood Business magazine. And it’s free!

Search by finfish or shellfish, or by geographic region. For each type of seafood species, there is a comprehensive overview of the item, its origin, history, availability, product attributes, nutritional value and cooking tips, along with an original hand-drawn depiction.

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Related to cuttlefish and squid, octopus are cephalopods, or “head-footed,” referring to the eight “legs” that sprout from their head. They also have a parrot-like beak for crushing prey such as abalone, crab and lobster. There are more than 140 species in temperate and tropical waters… Read More
There are several species of langostino, but the one most commonly marketed is Pleuroncodes monodon, a small, lobster-like crustacean found in the cold, deep waters off the coast of Chile, where it is known as langostino colorado. A related  langostino, P. planipes, also called tuna crab, ranges… Read More
Surf clams are often the “fried clams” featured on menus across the country. This is the most important clam species, by volume, in the United States. Surf clams average 4 1/2 to 8 inches across. They’re taken by hydraulic dredges from sand or gravel habitats in depths of 10 to 300 feet. The… Read More
The green mussel is native to New Zealand, which has exported it to the United States since 1979. Greenshells are farmed mussels, cultivated on ropes, rafts or longlines. Growing standards, including water quality and production levels, are tightly regulated by the New Zealand government, so… Read More
The geoduck (pronounced “gooey duck”) is the largest burrowing clam in the world and one of the longest-lived animals, sometimes living more than 100 years. Its name reportedly comes from the Nisqually Indian term “gwe-duk,” which means “dig deep.” The Chinese call it “elephant trunk… Read More
The rock shrimp is a deepwater cousin of the pink, brown and white Gulf shrimp species (Penaeus spp.), but its popularity in the domestic market was slower to develop. The crustacean gets its name from its rock-hard shell, which presented a challenge for processors until a machine was developed to… Read More
Spanner crab is a newcomer to the U.S. market, exported from northeastern Australia for the white-tablecloth-dining market. Because of its limited and recent distribution in this country, the crab does not yet appear on the USDA Fish List. Though Australian supplies dominate the domestic market,… Read More
There are about 500 species of sea urchins worldwide, but the major commercially valuable species in the United States are the red, green and purple sea urchins. The spherical echinoderms have a hard, spiny shell called a “test,” which contains a star-shaped mass comprising five skeins of… Read More
Don’t confuse this large, warmwater gastropod with the East Coast whelk, also colloquially called conch. From the family Strombidae, the queen conch (pronounced “conk”) is found primarily in the Caribbean, where it uses a muscular foot to drag itself along the ocean floor. Once abundant,… Read More
Softshell is actually a misnomer for this clam, whose oval-shaped shell is actually thin and very brittle. Softshell clams average 1 1/2 to 3 inches in length. Their shell cannot close completely because of a protruding siphon. For this reason, softshell clams have a shorter shelf life than their… Read More