Jump to navigation
Jump to search
This article needs additional citations for verification . Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources . Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2018) ( Learn how and when to remove this template message )
Several different species of large whelks in the family Buccinidae on sale at a fish market in Japan .
Whelk is a common name that is applied to various kinds of sea snail .  Although a number of whelks are relatively large and are in the family Buccinidae (the true whelks), the word whelk is also applied to some other marine gastropod species within several families of sea snails that are not very closely related.
Many have historically been used, or are still used, by humans and other animals for food. (In an average whelk (100g), there are 137 calories, 24g of protein, 0.34g of fat, and 8g of carbs.  )
Dog whelks were used in antiquity to make a rich red dye that improves in color as it ages. 
True whelks are carnivorous, feeding on worms, crustaceans, mussels and other molluscs, drilling holes through shells to gain access to the soft tissues. Whelks use chemoreceptors to locate their prey. 
- 1 Usage
- 1.1 United States
- 1.2 British Isles, Belgium, Netherlands
- 1.2.1 Scotland
- 1.3 West Indies
- 1.4 Asia
- 1.5 Australia, New Zealand
- 2 Some common examples
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Usage[ edit ]
The common name “whelk” is also spelled welk or even wilk.
The species, genera and families referred to by this common name vary a great deal from one geographic area to another.
United States[ edit ]
In the United States , whelk refers to several large edible species in the genera Busycon and Busycotypus , which are now classified in the family Buccinidae . These are sometimes called Busycon whelks.
In addition, the unrelated invasive murex Rapana venosa is referred to as the Veined rapa whelk or Asian rapa whelk in the family Muricidae .
British Isles, Belgium, Netherlands[ edit ]
In the British Isles , Belgium and the Netherlands (Wulk/Wullok), the word is used for a number of species in the family Buccinidae , especially Buccinum undatum , an edible European and Northern Atlantic species.
In the British Isles, the common name “dog whelk” is used for Nucella lapillus (family Muricidae) and for Nassarius species (family Nassariidae ).
Scotland[ edit ]
In Scotland , the word “whelk” is also used to mean the periwinkle (Littorina littorea), family Littorinidae . 
West Indies[ edit ]
In the English-speaking islands of the West Indies , the word whelks or wilks (this word is both singular and plural) is applied to a large edible top shell , Cittarium pica , also known as the magpie or West Indian top shell, family Trochidae .
Asia[ edit ]
Skewered whelks from Japan.
In Japan, whelks (ツブ, 螺 tsubu) are frequently used in sashimi and sushi . In Vietnam, they are served in a dish called Bún ốc – vermicelli with sea snails. Golbaengi-muchim (골뱅이 무침) is a Korean dish consisting of whelks and with chili sauce in a salad with cold noodles. It has been a very popular side dish with alcohol for many generations.
Australia, New Zealand[ edit ]
In Australia and New Zealand , species of the genus Cabestana (family Ranellidae ) are called predatory whelks, and species of Penion (family Buccinidae ) are called siphon whelks.
Some common examples[ edit ]
- Channeled whelk
- Common whelk
- Knobbed whelk , the state shell of Georgia and New Jersey
- Lightning whelk
- Red whelk
- Speckled whelk
- “Triton whelk”, an Australian common name for Charonia species
- “Wrinkled whelk”, a common name for both Neptunea lyrata and Nucella lamellosa
See also[ edit ]
|Look up whelk in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Conch , another common name used for a wide variety of large sea snails or their shells
References[ edit ]
- ^ “Identify This…Conchs and Whelks – Reefland.com” . www.reefland.com.
- ^ “Nutrition and Calories in Whelk” . recipeofhealth.com.
- ^ Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of England by Saint the Venerable Bede (Book 1, Chapter 1) .
- ^ “Snails and Slugs (Gastropoda)” . www.molluscs.at.
- ^ Multilingual Dictionary of Fish and Fish Products, prepared by the OECD , Paris, second edition, 1978
- The Georgia Shell Club webpage entry for whelk, Busycon species
External links[ edit ]
|Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Whelk .|
- Nutrition facts for “whelk” (species not indicated) as a food source
- The Marine Life Information Network – The Common Whelk
- Mollusc common names
- Marine edible gastropods
- Commercial molluscs
- Articles needing additional references from May 2018
- All articles needing additional references
- Articles containing Japanese-language text
- Articles containing Korean-language text
- This page was last edited on 24 November 2018, at 12:19 (UTC).
- Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License ;
- About Wikipedia
- Contact Wikipedia
- Cookie statement
- Mobile view
Cambridge dictionaries logo
- English (UK)
- English (US)
- Español (Latinoamérica)
- 中文 (简体)
- 正體中文 (繁體)
- Tiếng Việt
Meaning of “whelk” in the English Dictionary
“whelk” in English
See all translations
noun [ C ]
› a soft sea creature , similar to a snail , that lives in a hard shell
Thesaurus: synonyms and related words
See more results »
(Definition of “whelk” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Examples of “whelk”
Translations of “whelk”
- in Chinese (Traditional)
- in Chinese (Simplified)
Get a quick, free translation!
when all is said and done idiom
when hell freezes over idiom
Create and share your own word lists and quizzes for free!
Sign up now
Word of the Day
a white layer of pieces of ice like needles that forms on objects outside when it is very cold
Fussy eaters and healthy appetites (Words and phrases to describe the way we eat)
cart abandonment noun
More new words
Get our free widgets
Add the power of Cambridge Dictionary to your website using our free search box widgets.
Browse our dictionary apps today and ensure you are never again lost for words.