Pinctada Maxima

PINCTADA MAXIMA

Pinctada maxima are basically species of pearl oysters from the family of Pteriidae. It is the largest pearl oysters in the world having two color varieties the Gold-lipped oyster and White-lipped oyster.

They are really very important to produce South East Sea pearls or Philippine pearl so used in the cultured pearl industry. Their inner shell layer composed of Nacre (Mother of Pearls).

Their oysters grow up to 12 in (30 cm) in diameter and Nacre is responsible for pearl colors that oyster can produce. There are certain factors on which color is determined and those factors are Water temperature, sediments, and plankton.

Pinctada Maxima pearls
Source: www.upload.wikimedia.org

The Nomenclature for Pinctada maxima is mentioned below:

Nomenclature

TypeDetails
NameSilver-lipped pearl oyster
Scientific NamePinctada maxima
SynonymWhite-lipped pearl oyster

Vernacular Names

Here below some Vernacular names for Silver-lipped pearl oyster are given:

  • English in the Philippines: Gold-lipped pearl oyster
  • English in the UK: Goldlip pearl oyster
  • French: Huître perlière
  • Danish: Perlemusling
  • Hiligaynon: Tipay
  • Mandarin Chinese: 大 珠 母 贝
  • Spanish: Ostra perlera
  • English in Australia: Silverlip Pearl Oyster

Pinctada Maxima History & Origin

According to Broome’s history, Pinctada maxima first discovered in 1861. It was also discovered in Roebuck Bay and consider as largest pearl shell in the World.

Its average size is 6-12 inches and inner shell layer composed of Mother of pearl. The largest and most valuable pearls are saltwater pearls and that is from Pinctada Maxima.

On October 15, 1996, President Fidel Ramos declared the South Sea Pearl as country’s national gem. He declared the South Sea Pearl or Philippine Pearl as country’s national gem by signing Proclamation No. 905.

Origin

The cultured pearling industry is about 100 years old but divers are collecting wild oysters for natural pearls about 4000 years. It mainly found in Australian South Sea and is the largest and rarest of all pearl oysters. So, their origin is Australia, Philippines, Indonesia.

Distinctive Features of Pinctada Maxima

They are mainly used in jewelry and due to a broad range of colors, sizes, and prices of the south sea pearl, designers matched them with many many varieties of jewelry. The largest and most valuable pearls are saltwater pearls from Pinctada Maxima.

Pinctada Maxima Saltwater pearls
Source: www.pbs.twimg.com

Pinctada Maxima matched with a variety of jewelry metals like rose gold, yellow gold, white gold, and .925 silver. Their three distinguishing characteristics are thick nacre, satiny luster, and a subtle array of colors.

Nowadays people love to buy large and high-quality pearls as they appeal to them and could be used for pendants and earrings, sizes ranges from 12 mm pearl to 18 mm pearl.

If we compared it with Pintada Fucata pearls then their growth period is from 2-4 years and maximum 6 years while Pintada Fucata growth time is 6 to 24 months also having smaller Nacre.

Morphology

It’s Shell is thick and large (30 cm in length), with a short and ill-defined back ear which is not drawn out into a wing-like process.

Morphology
Source: www.gbri.org.au

An outer surface of valves, when not broken-down, covered with flattened, imbricating concentric scales bearing large and flat spines with dull ends.

Ecology & Habitat

It mainly found in Australian South Sea and also the largest and rarest of all pearl oysters. Basically, their origin is Australia, Philippines, Indonesia.

Pinctada seeded at about 2 years of age and after 2 years develop a pearl, they can be reseeded up to 3 or 4 times and after 9 to 16 months Akoya pearls are harvested.

Habitat

Pinctada Maxima habitat characterized by high terrigenous sediment, productivity levels, and nutrient inputs. Pinctada maxima oyster has two varieties one is silver-lipped and other gold-lipped. There is the difference between P. margaritifera and P.Maxima habitats as Pinctada margaritifera will feed more successfully at low food concentrations.

Pinctada Maxima habitat
Source: www.gousa.jp

To prevent faunal and floral overgrowth on the oyster shell management make sure to clean Oysters on a regular basis. To harvest a South Sea pearl we have to wait for at least four years and after four years  South Sea pearl can be harvested.

Australia put strict guidelines against the collection of adult pearl oysters in the wild. When the pearl oysters have reached maturation next step is grafting. In the grafting, process oysters are temporarily removed from their ocean baskets for seeding.

Then nucleus and piece of donor mantle tissue inserted into the pearl pocket. After the grafting process, oysters are returned to the ocean farms and cared until the pearl is ready for harvest. It is necessary for an oyster to be healthier so that it can produce a high-quality pearl.

Life Cycle

The life cycle from egg and sperm to adult males and females is shown in the following image:

Pinctada Maxima
Source: www.slideplayer.com

Life Span Of Pinctada Maxima

Due to danger from the large demand for pearls, their typical lifespan is usually around 3 years to 14 years. They seeded at about 2 years of age and after 2 years develop a pearl which further can be reseeded up to 3 or 4 times.

Pinctada Maxima lifespan
Source: www.cdn4.img.sputniknews.com

According to research by biologist Aldemaro Romero Jr., the first animal population depleted by Europeans in the American continent was a pearl oyster species.

Behavior Of Pinctada Maxima

They make pearl to feel better because when a grain of sand gets stuck in their bodies they feel pain. To ease that pain oyster also coated debris with multiple layers of nacre. The mineral that lines the inside of oyster shells and pearl begins to form.

Pinctada Maxima Diversity

Pinctada Maxima generally characterized by high terrigenous sediment, productivity levels, and nutrient inputs. There is also a difference between P. margaritifera and P.Maxima habitats as Pinctada margaritifera will feed more successfully at low food concentrations.

On the other side, Pinctada maxima will cope with a wider range of food concentrations and more silty conditions. Pinctada maxima oyster has two varieties one is silver-lipped and other gold-lipped.

Both Silver and Gold lipped can be distinguished by the color proportions of its internal nacreous area. This area is described as highly lustrous and silver in color, but with a variable extended golden border. Oysters are also filter feeders, straining plankton, bacteria, and other nutrients from the water passing through their gills.

Taxonomy

Taxonomy originated from Greek word taxis, meaning arrangement, and nomos, meaning law. Also, it is responsible for discovering, describing, classifying, naming and treating species. Taxonomic of Pinctada Maxima also mention in below image:

Pinctada Maxima Fun Facts

Nowadays people love to buy large and high-quality pearls as they appeal to them and could be used for pendants and earrings, sizes ranges from 12 mm pearl to 18 mm pearl.

There are some fun facts about the Silver-lipped pearl oyster:

References

There are some reference links mentioned below, you can take further helping material from these links.

  1. www.en.wikipedia.org
  2. www.gemonjewelry.com
  3. www.uniprot.org
  4. www.animalscene.ph
  5. www.en.wikipedia.org

Azka Hassan

A software engineering graduate from UET Taxila, I started my carrier as an SQA engineer in the year 2013 and have worked as a Quality Assurance Engineer and Content Creator at various organizations. Currently working as a Content Manager at Tapedaily. Writing research-based content related to Plants, Animals, and various kingdoms are my key interest.

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