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Posted by on Dec 25, 2016 in Tell Me Why |

Where Do Whelks Lay Their Eggs?

Where Do Whelks Lay Their Eggs?

A whelk is a kind of sea-snail. It eats clams, worms, barnacles and smaller snails. The female lays her eggs in hard capsules. These are arranged in clusters of strings and attached to rock, wood, and the shells of other sea creatures. Fishermen use whelks as bait. They catch the whelks by setting traps and baiting them with crabs.

Whelks are eaten by cod and starfish, the kind of fish that find their food at or near the bottom of the sea bed. Mating and egg laying occur during the spring and fall migration.

Internally fertilized eggs are surrounded by a transparent mass of albumen, a gel-like material, and are laid in protective flat, rounded egg capsules joined to form a paper-like chain of egg cases, commonly called a “Mermaid’s Necklace”.

On average each capsule contains 0-99 eggs, with most strings having 40-160 capsules. After laying their egg cases, female whelk will bury one end of the egg case into the substrate, thus providing an anchor for the developing fertilized eggs and preventing the string of egg cases from washing ashore where it would dehydrate. Fertilized eggs emerge as juvenile whelks approximately 4 mm in length.

Content for this question contributed by Kristen Allison, resident of Myricks, Berkley, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA