A tall spired whelk, with 7 or 8 whorls, that normally grows to 10 cm long and 5 cm in width. The body whorl comprises about ¾ of the total height and the whorls are slightly convex, giving a stepped effect and ornamented with fine ridges following the spirals. The aperture is large and oval and where the lips meet at the shell base there is a canal for the siphon to emerge when the whelk is active.Neptunea antiqua
closely resembles Buccinum undatum
, the common whelk. They can be separated by the fact that Buccinum undatum
has vertical as well as concentric ridges on the whorls. The common whelk is edible but the red whelk is not (Hayward et al
, 1996). The distribution and abundance of Neptunea antiqua
may be reduced in Britain as a result of seawater warming.