Black Abalone (Haliotis cracherodii)
Photo by Glenn VanBlaricom
Common Name: Black Abalone
Scientific name: Haliotis cracherodii
Black Abalone range from Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico north to Mendocino County, California, USA, although rare sightings have been reported as far north as Coos Bay, Oregon, USA (California Department of Fish and Game 1986). Black abalone have a smooth shell, either black or slate blue in color with white on the outer, worn away layers. The inside of the shell is pearly white with a black mantle and foot. There are five to nine open flush pores on the left side of the shell and spiral growth lines in the posterior. Tentacles surround the foot and extend out of the shell, which sense food and predators. Black abalone are typically observed securely wedged into crevices, cracks and holes of intertidal rocks during low tide, rendering them quite cryptic. When immersed and during night hours, however, this species has been observed using its muscular foot to move freely over rock surfaces. Black abalone have separate sexes and spawn primarily during the summer months. Black abalones are herbivores, feeding mostly on kelp and drift algae.