Molluscs are a large phylum of invertebrate animals, many of which have shells. Edible molluscs are harvested from saltwater, freshwater, and the land, and include numerous members of the classes Gastropoda (snails), Bivalvia (clams, scallops, oysters etc.).
A large number of different species of molluscs are eaten worldwide, either cooked or raw. Some mollusc species are commercially exploited and shipped as part of the international trade in shellfish; other species are harvested, sold and consumed locally. Some species are collected and eaten locally but are rarely bought and sold. A few species of molluscs are not commonly eaten now, but were eaten in historical or prehistoric times.