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Learn about whelk

Whelk are sea snails that are often confused with conch, but actually belong to a different family. Read on to learn more about two types of whelk.


  • Knobbed whelk have a decorative shell with sharp points and a broad spiral. Channeled whelk are smoother and have a tighter spiral. They have a foot which allows them to move over mucous. The largest whelk found by Division of Marine Fisheries was 5.5 inches wide.


Whelk facts

  • Species name: Busycotypus canaliculatus (Channeled whelk)
  • Species name: Busycon carica (Knobbed whelk)
  • Whelk are less than .25 inches long when they leave their egg casings.
  • Whelk live up to 15 years.
  • Females fertilize eggs internally, and produce up to 40 capsules which can each hold 100 eggs.
  • The egg capsules are laid around August, and anchored to the sea floor.
  • Whelk eat shellfish, dead crustaceans and fish.
  • Humans are a large predator for Whelk, along with fish, sea stars, and crustaceans.