How strange to call this planet 'Earth' when quite clearly it is ocean. Arthur C. Clarke

Monday, October 6, 2014

Whelks

Here is a picture of whelks in the lab. There may be as many as three species here--it's very hard to tell them apart without a genetic analysis. As you can see, there is a lot of variation in their shell color. The one in the upper right is on a mussel--probably drilling through its shell to eat it!




The three species are all in the genus Nucella: emarginata, ostrina, and canaliculata. The mussel is Mytilus californianus. In the bottom photo, can you see the soft white foot of the whelks below their shells? Look for their antennae, too. There is one whelk with two hitchhikers--limpets that have stuck themselves to the whelk's shell for a free ride. 

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