learn-about title for whelk section of A SNAIL'S ODYSSEY
 

Five species of Nucella whelks1 commonly inhabit intertidal west-coast shores and their predatory activities, particularly on mussels and barnacles, greatly influence the shore economy.  These are N. lamellosa, N.  ostrina, N. emarginata2, N. lima,and N. canaliculata.  Other commonly occurring whelks are leafy hornmouths Ceratostoma foliatum, and Ocenebrina3 spp. and Lirabuccinum dirum (Searlesia dira).  Olive shells Callianax spp. are also present.  Whelks and their relatives are known as caeno-, or “new”gastropods because of certain advanced features that they bear over other groups of gastropods, such as limpets: Eogastropoda

NOTE1  the word “whelk” has appeared in many different forms over the ages and has an obscure origin.  The Oxford English Dictionary notes that the “unetymological” spelling of wh-elk (as opposed to such earlier names as “wiloc”, “wyloc”, “wylke”, and “welke”) commenced from the 15th C.  The term “dog” whelk is used commonly in Britain and elsewhere in reference to Nucella spp., for no obvious reason.  However, as we also have “dog shark”, “dog rose”, “dog violet”, and “dog wood”, perhaps it refers to something that is common or familiar, like our 4-legged companions

NOTE2  this species has recently been split into ostrina from from Yakutat, Alaska to Point Conception, California and N. emarginata from Fort Point near San Francisco, California to Punta Eugena, Baja California.  Thus all northern-based publications on emarginata cited in earlier works in the ODYSSEY are re-named ostrina.  More information can be found at LEARN ABOUT WHELKS: NUCELLA EMARGINATA vs. N. OSTRINA

NOTE3  formerly Ocenebra

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drawing of snail meeting whelk from A SNAIL'S ODYSSEY
ANIMATION of snail meeting WHELK
© 2010 Thomas Carefoot

To learn about west-coast WHELKS: select a topic from the whelk menu at the top of the page

OR: play the ANIMATION of the snail meeting the WHELK

OR, if you want to see other animations: follow the snail on its ODYSSEY by CLICKING on any X-marked invertebrate on the map

map for whelk part of A SNAIL'S ODYSSEY
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Phylum Mollusca (lit. “soft” or “shellfish” L.)

Class Gastropoda (lit. “stomach foot” G.), referring to the body structure of viscera lying overtop of the muscular foot

SubClass Orthogastropoda (lit. “straight gastropod” G.)

Clade (SuperOrder) Caenogastropoda (lit. “new or recent  gastropod” G.)

Clade (SubOrder) Hypsogastropoda (lit. “high gastropod” G.), including whelks, and mud snails

Family Muricidae (lit. “purple” L.), including whelks Nucella spp., Acanthinucella (Acanthina) spp.

Family Buccinidae (lit. “trumpet” L.), including Kelletia kelletii, a southern California species, and Lirabuccinum dirum (dire whelk) and Neptunea pribiloffensis

Family Nassariidae (lit. “wicker basket” L.), including mud snails Ilyanassa obsoleta

Family Ranellidae, including tritons Fusitriton oregonensis

Family Olividae, including olive shells Callianax spp. (formerly Olivella spp.)

Family Conidae, including cone shells Conus californicus

Family Columbellidae, including Amphissa columbiana, Alia carinata

Family Potamididae, including horn snails Cerithidea californica

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