Although originally coming from the Japan/Korea region, the Crassostrea gigas, also known as Pacific oyster, has done to the oyster world what some species of grapes did to the wine world: Due to their better resilience against diseases and better capacity for adaptation to changes in environment, they have spread worldwide and have taken to most habitats, replacing with commercial advantage whichever oysters were there before.
This species was first described by a biologist named Thunberg, in 1793, in the golden age of taxonomists. Historically, the Pacific cupped oyster (its actual official name) has been cultivated in Japan for centuries. It was introduced to the western coast of the United States around the 1920’s, to replace the endemic species that were – by then – severely depleted from over-harvesting or disease. They were only introduced in France in 1966 – which comes as a bit of surprise, since any French producer/seller may eagerly tell you that they invented the animal – but due to its resilience and capacity for adaptation, it has spread globally, namely through their larvae being carried in the ballast water of ships, or through amorous attachment of their adults to roaming hulls.