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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Dog Whelk Nucella lapillus

One of the most common rocky shore gastropods, the dog whelk has a thick, heavy, sharply pointed spiral shell. The shell’s exact shape depends on its exposure to wave action, and its color depends on diet. Dog whelks are voracious predators, feeding mainly on barnacles and mussels. Once the prey has been located, the whelk uses its radula to bore a hole in the shell of its prey before sucking out the flesh.

Dog Whelkzoom image
  • Class Gastropoda
  • Length Up to 2 in (6 cm)
  • Habitat Middle and lower rocky shores
  • Distribution Northwestern and northeastern Atlantic
Dog Whelk habitat mapzoom image