Name: Dog Whelk
Scientific name: Nucella lapillus
Nature Stars: 20
A pointed snail-like shell. Much larger than topshells - their shells can be up to 10cm long. Dog whelks live around the lower shore, where ever there are barnacles or mussels, its favourite food. The bubbly, papery wash balls sometimes found blowing along the strandline are whelk egg cases!
Whelks can retreat into their shells when threatened, pulling a special lid over the opening on their underside to protect themselves from intruders.
How to identify: Whelks are more pointed than periwinkles. The Dog Whelk is smaller than the common whelk, smoother than the netted whelk and more rounded than the Oyster Drill.
Where: Found all round our coasts.
Fantastic fact: Feeds on mussels and barnacles by boring through their shells with its sharp proboscis!
Photograph credit: Paul Naylor