Whelk Egg Case

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Project Description

Whelk Egg Case

Busycon carica

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.

Project Details


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