The fertilized egg of Crassostrea virginica initially develops into a non-feeding swimming trochophore. Within 24 - 48 hrs, the trochophore develops into a veliger larva with a long dispersal period (Buroker 1983, Wallace 2001). The veliger has a thin shell and feeds on phytoplankton (Wallace 2001). After two to three weeks the veliger develops into a pediveliger with a foot and eye spots and begins to test the substratum for a suitable habitat to settle (Buroker 1983, Wallace 2001). The larva will cement itself to whole or broken oyster or clam shells and metamorphose into a spat (tiny oyster) (Wallace 2001). Attachment takes place between March and September in the Indian River Lagoon (Wislon et al. 2005), between July and December in the Gulf of Mexico, and between July and September in the north Atlantic coast of the United States (Buroker 1983). Metamorphosed spat are usually males with some individuals transforming into females after the first or second spawning. In some instances, female C. virginica reverse to males.
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