Common Whelk

Buccinum undatum
Common Whelk

Habitat: Low shore, sandy and stony sea floor
Depth: 5-1200m
Food: Cockles and other molluscs, worms and dead fish
Size: Up to 11cm
Lifespan: Up to 15 years
Conservation Status: Not Evaluated (NE)

This large snail is a hungry predator, hunting mussels, cockles and worms. It inserts its large siphon in between a mussel’s shells, then forces them open using the edge of its own shell, before scraping out the mussel flesh with its radula – a tongue-like structure armed with teeth. After mating, female whelks lay masses of egg capsules. Survival rate is low, since the young hatchlings eat their siblings!

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