The soft body of the oyster is covered by two drab gray-colored calcareous valves joined by an organic ligament along a narrow hinge line. The valves are slightly asymmetrical. The left valve is larger and almost always deeper than the right one. The interior of the shell is smooth and white, with a single sub-central purple muscle scar. Shell shape varies from nearly oval to extremely elongate.
- Abbott, R. 1974. American Seashells. The Marine Mollusca of the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts of North America. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York. 663 pp.
- Galtsoff, P. S. 1964. The American Oyster Crassostrea virginica Gmelin. Fishery Bulletin 64:1-480.
- Kennedy, V., R. I. E. Newell & A. F. Eble (editors). 1996. The Eastern Oyster Crassostrea virginica. Maryland Sea Grant, College Park, Maryland. 734 pp.
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