In the current sustainable seafood-centric issue of Edible San Francisco, Marcia Gagliardi’s story on abalone has a splendid array of who-knew factoids:

1. The things are technically snails, not shellfish.

2. Abalone are so sensitive to toxins that “they are actually used as an indicating species for water quality testing—state water-quality laboratories use them to test for pollutants in water samples.”

3. “Many inexperienced divers inadvertently injure an abalone while prying it off, and since they are essentially hemophiliacs, they can bleed to death.”

4. It’s unclear if this means abalone are descended from Queen Victoria.

And—all right, I gleaned this from random abalone Google searches—their shells are so resistant to fracture that scientists are now studying their design to create, say, cars that absorb an impact without breaking. A car made out of nacre: So much cooler than a Prius.

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