Comprehensive Description

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Comprehensive Description

The White Abalone (Haliotis sorenseni) is a large gastropod mollusk that is distributed off the west coast of North America throughout the Southern California Bight and northern Baja California, a range of 900 km. It is found in rocky subtidal ocean waters, inhabiting rocky reefs or solitary outcrops adjacent to the sand–rock interface at depths of 20 to 60 meters from Point Conception in California (U.S.A.) south to Punta Abreojos, Baja California (Mexico). It grows slowly and has a lifespan on the order of 35 to 40 years. A variety of factors (notably, overfishing in the 1970s and 1980s) have led to dramatic population declines and in 2001 the White Abalone became the first endangered marine invertebrate to be listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1976 (see additional information from the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources), although at least one study (Butler et al. 2006) has yielded the encouraging finding that more potential White Abalone habitat is available than previously believed. Adult White Abalone, like other abalone species, are dependent upon macroalgae as their main source of nutrition. In addition, drifting macroalgae (such as fragments of the kelp Macrocystis pyrifera) appear to play an important role in facilitating the dispersal of juvenile and young adult White Abalone, apparently moving them far greater distances than could be traversed by the larvae during their 5 day dispersal phase. (McCormick et al. 2008 and references therein)


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© Shapiro, Leo

Source: EOL Rapid Response Team


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