Whelk Egg Case
Range/Geographical Distribution: Cape Cod to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.
Habitat: Shallow waters including bays, beaches, and estuaries.
Description: A long strand of parchment-like disks that resembles a necklace.
Size: Can reach 40 inches in length.
Food: When whelk eggs hatch inside the capsules, the tiny whelks cannibalize each other before eating their way out of the casing.
Breeding: Whelk egg cases are anchored in the sand and each disk can contain 25 or more eggs.
Predators: The leathery egg case protects juvenile whelks from outside predation.
Conservation Status: No legal status.
Interesting Facts: Each whelk species lays distinctly different shaped capsules. Knobbed whelk egg capsules have squared-off edges whereas channeled whelk capsules are sharp edged.
On the Coast: Whelk egg cases commonly wash up on Georgia’s beaches but most of the time the tiny whelks have already hatched and crawled away.