We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Whelk?

By R. Stamm
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Whelks are several species of large, edible marine gastropods mollusks found in temperate, tropical waters around the world. They have hard shells built from calcium carbonate extracted from sea water. They are scavengers and carnivores as well as a popular food item for people throughout the world. While whelk is the name commonly used to refer to these sea snails, they are not all closely related.

The scientific name Buccinum undatum refers to the true whelk found in the Northern Atlantic waters near Europe. They can be found alive at low tide in the shallow waters of the British Isles, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The snail is approximately 4 inches (about 10 cm) in height and 2 inches (about 6 cm) wide, and it has a hard, pale-colored shell that is covered in a yellowish-brown thin skin known as the periostracum. Europeans claim that these large, edible snails taste best when boiled in sea water.

In the United States, the term whelk refers to another large, edible species known as Busycotypus, and it is much larger than those found in Europe. They can grow to 16 inches (about 40 cm) in height and have a solid cream, tan, or light gray shell. The snails are scavengers with large, muscular feet capable of boring through the shells of clams, crabs, and lobsters. Several species enjoy eating the Busycotypus, including sharks, seagulls, crabs, and humans.

The periwinkle is found along the rocky Scottish shorelines in the Northern Atlantic. The term periwinkle is interchangeable with what the people of Scotland refer to as whelks. This small gastropod with gills has a dark shell and feeds on algae or small invertebrates much like whelk found in other parts of the world. A popular food item with people worldwide, Scotland exports about 2,000 tons of periwinkles per year—it is considered an important export.

Another large variety of edible whelk not closely related to the species found in the United States or Europe is called the Cittarium pica. It lives on the shores of the West Indies and is a popular food item in the Caribbean, where it is also know as a wilk. These whelks are often boiled and eaten in numerous recipes on the islands. They are found living under rocks in shallow coastal waters of the Caribbean, Mexico, and other Latin American shores. The wilk has a large, black top shell with white stripes, is 5 inches (about 13 cm) in diameter, and feeds on algae.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.