National Geographic : 1916 Jun
Photograph and copyright by Keystone View Co. A MOUNTAIN OF OYSTER SHELLS READY FOR PLANTING: OYSTER CULTURE, HAMPTON, VIRGINIA An essential of oyster farming is to spread on the bottom clear material for the attach ment and temporary support of the young oysters. When first hatched, they are free-swim ming, microscopic creatures, but in a few hours they fall to the bottom and are lost unless they can adhere to a firm, clean surface while making their shells and undergoing develop ment. The fish hosts of the various important button-making mussels have been deter mined, and it is the province of the labo ratory to provide those fishes and have them inoculate themselves by swimming in tanks or ponds in which the spawning mussels have been placed. When a fish is sufficiently infected, it is turned loose in the river, and in a few weeks the young mussels, having attained a proper development, become detached from the gills, fall to the bottom of the stream, and begin their independent ex istence.