Lightning Whelk (Busycon sinistrum)
This species is the only whelk that opens on the left.
Whelks and their egg cases are common on southeastern beaches. Whelks
grow up to 12 inches in length and are pear-shaped with the top being
wide with a short spire.
These univalves prey
on bivalves by clasping them with their strong foot
and prying apart the shells using the lip
of their shell. They are also known to eat carrion
and are great shells for Hermit Crabs when they are empty. Whelks can
be used as signal horns and are used for chowders. Their egg cases are
lightweight and are attached in a string like a necklace with each disc
containing up to 20-30 eggs or more. Many never hatch because their
newly hatched siblings eat them. Tiny whelks, miniatures of their parents,
first hatch from eggs inside the capsule and then hatch again out of
the capsule by eating their way out. Small holes are visible in each
capsule where they emerged.