Mud whelk

The common whelk Buccinum undatum is an inhabitant of coastal areas of the northern Atlantic Ocean, as well on the eastern coast as on the western coast. The whelk mainly lives in cold water with a salt content of around 2 to 3 percent. The whelk lives on different soils, but it is most frequently found on soft ground, for example muddy and sandy ocean floor habitats, in depths between 5 and metres 15 to feet. Whelks of different ages are used to live in different depths; the older whelks seem to prefer deeper sea areas, whereas the younger ones live near the shore.

Mud whelk

This means that they are similar to snails, having muscular foot and a spiraled shell. Cominella Glandiformis is most widely distributed Mud whelk the many Cominella spp.


They live exclusively on moderately sheltered beaches, principally on shores of mud. These mud whelks are ubiquitous on enclosed mudflats, creeping about actively on the surface, which is subjected greatly to fluctuating salinity and humidity.

Intensity of individuals is greatest where the beds of Austrovenus Stutchburyi and pipi are densest as these are its primary food source. Apart from this, they are quite randomly spread and only gather while feeding. Wherever Cominella Adspersa and Cominella Glandiformis are found in the same area, Cominella Glandiformis is abundant in the upper regions and adspersa in the lower regions.

Behaviour patterns of these mud whelks are quite straightforward: There is not much evidence as to its activity period. However, the prospect of a "biological clock" controlling daily rhythms has been investigated recently Kennedy,but with inconclusive and indecisive results.

An active carnivore, Cominella Glandiformis, scavenges the intertidal shores, feeding on dead and moribund animal matter. Temperature fluctuations in this habitat are habitual to the whelks. Organisms best suited for mudflats are burrowers.

Mud whelk

These mud whelks have some adaptations for movement and feeding that enable it to move through and survive the mudflat sediment, which comprises of sand, silt, mud and organic content.

These adaptations are substantial as my investigation is based on the feeding response time in different temperatures. This allows them to draw in their water current with precision and accurately locate the smells of decaying food. This structural adaptation allows several numbers of whelks to feed on one cockle.

Water is drawn into the mantle cavity and passes over the osphradium as the siphon makes sweeping arcs; course is then set and taken along the gradient of food particles.

The siphon also aids them to respire by constantly drawing in water and this respiration process takes place across the gill behind its head. Individuals extend their foot from the shell and raise the shell high off the substrate. It is possibly preparatory to the incoming tide, which acts as a means of dispersal.

This behaviour aids them in survival by stopping their feeding activity and seeking the burrows before the harsh tide is in.


These mud whelks have a keen sense of smell and can respond to food up to fifteen metres away Chemotaxic response triggered by the chemosensory organ, osphradium. These adaptations are what enable them to feed and survive, but the question is do these adaptations work better in higher temperatures resulting the feeding activity period to be when the temperatures are high.

The purpose of this investigation is to determine whether variations in seawater temperatures affect the time taken for the cockle to reach the food source, i. Higher temperatures should mean that the whelks react more rapidly and reach the food source sooner because the smell of the cockle is sensed faster by its osphradium in high temperatures.

This means that whelks should probably be active at the time of the day that has the highest temperature, i.Drilling by whelks can be influenced by a variety of environmental factors, including temperature, salinity, and so on, but one factor not previously examined is the presence of a predator of the whelk.

Predators & defenses: Adaptive strategies of whelks and other snails to avoid being crushed by crabs or fishes is to have a thicker shell, a narrow/small aperture, .

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.

Introduction to the ecological niche of the mud whelk, Cominella Glandiformis Mud whelks that are being investigated belong to the Gastropoda class and Buccinidae family. “Whelk sellers also began their preparations early: the whelks were boiled, drained, then covered with more boiling water and stirred with a broom handle to clean out the mud and dirt, and also make it easier to ‘worm’ them — remove the digestive tract — without damaging the shell.

Mud Whelk. Spiral shaped welks are found in similar areas to the Mud Mussel. The shell is roasted on hot coals before being broken open. Mud Whelks are large snails.

Mud whelk

They have a long, brown, spiral shell.

Mud Dog Whelk - Barnegat Bay Partnership