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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 mollusc 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.)
Whelks were also used in antiquity to make a rich red dye that actually 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.
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.
British Isles, Belgium, Netherlands
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.
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
Some common examples
- 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
|Look up whelk in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Conch, another common name used for a wide variety of large sea snails or their shells
- "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
|Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Whelk.|