Scientific Name: Saccostrea cucullata
The hooded oyster is a species of rock oyster mainly found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. It favours rocky habitats in the intertidal zone and lives at depths of about 15 metres among seaweed. In shallow subtidal areas, it assembles in dense colonies, cemented to rocks, harbours, mangrove breathing roots, and other underwater structures. This oyster can withstand a wide variation in temperature and salinity.
The hooded oyster is an important part of the coral reef ecosystem and relies on healthy coral reefs to survive. It is a filter-feeder which pumps water through its gills to remove microalgae, a type of phytoplankton. What makes this species special is that it can be used to monitor levels of pollution and has even been used in the Arabian Gulf for this purpose! It collects heavy metals in its tissue, a process also known as bioaccumulation, and acts as an efficient biofilter by selectively removing them. Put your hands together for the hooded oyster- a truly proactive environmentalist!