Abalone (from Spanish Abulón) are medium-sized to very large edible sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks in the family Haliotidae and the genus Haliotis. Common names for abalones also include ear-shells, sea-ears and Venus's-ears, as well as muttonfish or muttonshells in Australia, ormer in Jersey and Guernsey, perlemoen in South Africa and pāua in New Zealand.
There is only the one genus in the family Haliotidae, and about four to seven subgenera. The number of species recognized worldwide is about 100.
The shells of abalones have a low and open spiral structure, and are characterized by several respiratory holes in a row near the shell's outer edge. The thick inner layer of the shell is composed of nacre or mother-of-pearl, which in many species is highly iridescent, giving rise to a range of strong and changeable colors, which make the shells attractive to humans as decorative objects, and as a source of colorful mother-of-pearl.
The flesh (the adductor muscle) of abalones is widely considered to be a desirable food.