Abalone are a type of single-shelled (gastropod) herbivorous marine mollusc. Their body is large and fleshy, with a broad, muscular foot the abalone uses to attach itself to reefs or rocks using suction.
The shells of abalone species are rough, flat and ear shaped, which protects them from wave action. On the inside their shells are smooth and shiny to protect the abalone’s soft flesh from damage.
Rows of small holes or ‘pores’ along the edge of their shells distinguish abalone species from other marine snails. Abalone expel water that has passed through their gills through these holes. As abalone grow, these holes progressively close-up, with usually only the last four to six holes remaining open when they reach full-size.