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Lightning Whelks / Bob Richmond, Flickr

Lightning Whelks, Busycon sp.

Courtesy Bob Richmond, Flickr

Whelks are snails, but you can easily conjure up an image of a whelk if you think of the term 'sea shell.' There are over 50 species of whelks, and they are classified in the the Family Buccinidae (containing about 40 species) and the Family Melongenidae (containing about 15 species).

Whelks are carnivorous, and eat mollusks, worms and crustaceans. When feeding on shelled animals, they will use their radula to drill holes in organism's shell and extract the meat.

The largest whelk is the trumpet whelk, which grows to over 2 feet (Source).

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