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Buccinum undatum.jpg
A live individual of Buccinum undatum being held above the substrate
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda

clade Hypsogastropoda
clade Neogastropoda

Superfamily: Buccinoidea
Family: Buccinidae
Subfamily: Buccininae
Tribe: Buccinini
Genus: Buccinum
Linnaeus, 1758[1]
Type species
Buccinum undatum
Linnaeus, 1758

See text

Buccinum is a genus of medium-sized sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks in the family Buccinidae, the true whelks.

Snails in this genus are commonly called whelks, a name shared with several related and unrelated species. The common whelk Buccinum undatum is the most common representative of the genus in the northern Atlantic Ocean.


The soft body is elongated and spiral. It shows two tapering, depressed tentacles, each of which bears on a lobe at the base a very small eye. The mantle forms a thin-edged flap over the branchial cavity. The long, annulated proboscis of the mouth is cylindrical. The proboscis is armed with minute teeth. The radula acts as a rasp. The foot is large and subelliptical.

The shell is ovate and elongated. The spire is moderate and pointed. The aperture is oval or oblong with a deep notch anteriorly. The columella is plain or callous. The outer lip is plain. The thin, horny operculum is ovate and concentrically striate.

All animals are carnivores and scavengers, feeding on dead or damaged marine animals. They have the power of perforating molluscs and crustacea.[2]


Species in the genus Buccinum include:[3]

Species brought into synonymy
  • Buccinum pulchrum Reeve, 1846: synonym of Engina pulchra (Reeve, 1846)

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