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Channeled whelk

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Title: Channeled whelk  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Wampum, Whelk, Edible molluscs, Bead, Snail caviar
Collection: Animals Described in 1758, Buccinidae, Edible Molluscs
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Channeled whelk

Channeled whelk
A shell of a channeled whelk
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda
clade Hypsogastropoda
clade Neogastropoda
Superfamily: Buccinoidea
Family: Buccinidae
Subfamily: Busyconinae
Tribe: Busycotypini
Genus: Busycotypus
Species: B. canaliculatus
Binomial name
Busycotypus canaliculatus
Linnaeus, 1758
  • Busycon canaliculatum
  • Murex canaliculatus Linnaeus, 1758 (original combination)

The channeled whelk, Busycotypus canaliculatus, previously known as Busycon canaliculatum, is a very large predatory sea snail, a marine prosobranch gastropod, a busycon whelk, belonging to the family Buccinidae. [1]


  • Distribution 1
  • Shell description 2
  • Human Uses 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


This species is endemic to the eastern coast of the United States, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to northern Florida. It has also been introduced into San Francisco Bay.

Shell description

Live channeled whelks for sale in a California seafood market

Shells of the channeled whelk typically reach 5 to 8 inches in length. The shell is smooth and subpyriform (generally pear-shaped), with a large body whorl and a straight siphonal canal. Between the whorls there is a wide, deep channel at the suture, and there are often weak knobs at the shoulders of the whorls. Finely sculpted lines begin at the siphonal canal and revolve around the shell surface.

The color of the shell is typically a buff gray to light tan. The shell aperture is located on the right side, i.e. the shell of this species is almost always dextral in coiling. Left-handed or sinistral specimens occur rarely.

Channeled whelks prefer sandy, shallow, intertidal or subtidal areas, and can be common in these habitats. They tend to be nocturnal and are known to eat clams.

One of their predators is the blue crab Callinectes sapidus. [2]

Human Uses

This species is edible.

Historically, American Indians used the channeled whelk as a component in wampum, the shell beads exchanged in the North American fur trade.[3]


  1. ^ a b Fraussen, K.; Rosenberg, G. (2012). Busycotypus canaliculatus (Linnaeus, 1758). Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at on 2012-08-30
  2. ^ , Malacologia v. 39 (1998), p.152Shell Repair Frequencies in Whelks and Moon Snails from Delaware and Soputhern New YerseyDietl & Alexander,
  3. ^ White, Richard (1991). The Middle Ground. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 97. 
  • Rosenberg, G. 1992. Encyclopedia of Seashells. Dorset: New York. 224 pp. page(s): 92
  • . Rutgers University Press. New Brunswick, New Jersey & London. 367 ppA practical guide to the marine animals of northeastern North AmericaPollock, L.W. (1998).

External links

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