Articles on this page are available in 1 other language: Dutch (1) (learn more)

Overview

Brief Summary

The common dog whelk is a formidable predator, even though it doesn't look dangerous. The snail uses its tongue to grate a hole in the house of another animal, for example, bivalves or other sea snails. Then it injects a fluid, just like a spider, which dissolves the prey. He then 'drinks' up the juicy victim. Such a meal costs a lot of preparation and can take between 6 to 10 hours. This snail almost disappeared from the use of tin-bearing paints (TBT) on ship hulls.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© Copyright Ecomare

Source: Ecomare

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Comprehensive Description

Description

 The shell is broadly conical, bearing spiral ridges and consisting of a short pointed spire, dominated by the last whorl. The shell is usually up to 3 cm in height by 2 cm broad but may reach up to 6 cm in height (Crothers, 1985). The shell colour is variable, usually white, but may be grey, brown, or yellow, occasionally with contrasting (usually brown) spiral banding. A short, open siphonal canal leads from base of the aperture. The outer lip of the aperture is thin in young specimens, becoming thickened and toothed internally with age. The shell shape, shell thickness and relative size of the aperture vary with wave exposure. In some populations, mainly sublittoral or from the intertidal in North Kent, the growth lines extend outwards to form flounces or ruffles, and this variety of dog whelk is called Nucella lapillus var. imbricata. The animal itself is white or cream coloured with white speckles, and a flattened head. The head bears two tentacles, each bearing a eye about one third of the length of the tentacle from its base. The egg capsules of Nucella lapillus are vase shaped, about 8mm high, usually yellow, and found attached to hard substrata in crevices and under overhangs.The taxonomy of Nucella lapillus was reviewed by Crothers (1985) and Kool (1993)
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

Widely disrtibuted
  • Hayward, P.J.; Ryland, J.S. (Ed.) (1990). The marine fauna of the British Isles and North-West Europe: 1. Introduction and protozoans to arthropods. Clarendon Press: Oxford, UK. ISBN 0-19-857356-1. 627 pp.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Range: 60.72°N to 40.8°N; 72.8°W to 0°W. Distribution: Greenland; Greenland: West Greenland; Canada; Canada: Labrador, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick; USA: Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

intertidal, infralittoral and circalittoral of the Gulf and estuary
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Depth range based on 251 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 48 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): -3 - 37.8
  Temperature range (°C): 9.958 - 12.348
  Nitrate (umol/L): 3.189 - 7.121
  Salinity (PPS): 34.558 - 35.363
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.069 - 6.234
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.336 - 0.439
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.315 - 3.285

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): -3 - 37.8

Temperature range (°C): 9.958 - 12.348

Nitrate (umol/L): 3.189 - 7.121

Salinity (PPS): 34.558 - 35.363

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.069 - 6.234

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.336 - 0.439

Silicate (umol/l): 2.315 - 3.285
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

 Found on wave exposed to sheltered rocky shores from the mid shore downwards. Rarely present in the sublittoral but may be abundant in areas exposed to extremely strong tidal stress. They are gregarious and common amongst barnacles and mussels on which they feed.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Animal / predator
Thais lapillus is predator of Semibalanus balanoides
Other: major host/prey

Animal / predator
Thais lapillus is predator of Elminius modestus
Other: minor host/prey

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Known prey organisms

Thais lapillus preys on:
Balanus balanoides
Mytilus edulis
Acmaea testudinalis
Littorina

Based on studies in:
USA: New England (Littoral, Rocky shore)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • B. A. Menge and J. P. Sutherland, Species diversity gradients: synthesis of the roles of predation, competition and temporal heterogeneity, Am. Nat. 110(973):351-369, from p. 355 (1976).
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

Classification

Some authors position Nucella lapillus within different genera in the family Thaididae (e.g. Lindner, 1977). In Backeljau the family Muricidae was used.
  • Backeljau, T. (1986). Lijst van de recente mariene mollusken van België [List of the recent marine molluscs of Belgium]. Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen: Brussels, Belgium. 106 pp.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Nucella lapillus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 188 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ACACTATATATTCTATTTGGTATATGATCTGGACTTGTTGGAACTGCTTTA---AGCCTTCTTATTCGAGCTGAGTTAGGACAACCAGGAGCTTTACTTGGTGAC---GATCAGTTATATAATGTTATTGTAACAGCACATGCTTTTGTTATAATTTTTTTTCTTGTAATACCCATGATAATTGGAGGATTTGGAAATTGGTTAGTACCTTTGATA---TTAGGTGCTCCAGATATAGCTTTCCCGCGGCTTAATAATATAAGATTTTGACTTTTACCTCCTGCTTTGCTTCTTTTACTTTCCTCTGCAGCAGTAGAAAGTGGAGTGGGGACTGGATGAACAGTTTATCCGCCATTAGCTGGTAATTTAGCTCATGCTGGTGGATCTGTAGATTTA---GCAATCTTTTCATTACATTTAGCAGGGGTTTCATCTATTTTAGGAGCTGTAAATTTTATTACAACTATTATCAATATACGTTGACGAGGCATACAGTTTGAACGCCTTCCATTATTTGTATGATCTGTAAAAATTACAGCTATTTTGCTTCTTTTATCTCTACCTGTTTTAGCGGGA---GCTATTACTATGCTGTTAACTGATCGAAATTTTAATACGGCTTTTTTTGACCCTGCAGGGGGTGGTGATCCTATCTTATATCAACATTTA------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TTT
-- end --

Download FASTA File
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Nucella lapillus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 188
Specimens with Barcodes: 215
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Genomic DNA is available from 3 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at Australia Museum
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© Ocean Genome Legacy

Source: Ocean Genome Resource

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Dog whelk

The dog whelk, dogwhelk, or Atlantic dogwinkle, scientific name Nucella lapillus, is a species of predatory sea snail, a carnivorous marine gastropod mollusc in the family Muricidae, the rock snails.

Nucella lapillus was originally described by Linnaeus in 1758 as Buccinum lapillus ( the basionym).

Distribution[edit]

This species is found around the coasts of Europe and in the northern west Atlantic coast of North America. It is also can be found in estuarine waters along the Atlantic coasts. This species prefers rocky shores, where it eats mussels and acorn barnacles.[citation needed]

A group of live Nucella lapillus on the barnacles which they eat.

Shell description[edit]

The dog whelk shell is small and rounded with a pointed spire and a short, straight siphonal canal (a groove on the underside of the shell) and a deep anal canal. The overall shell shape varies quite widely according to the degree of exposure to wave action of the shore on which a particular population lives but the body whorl (the largest section of the shell where the majority of the visceral mass is located) is usually around 3/4 of the total length of the shell.[2] The aperture is usually crenulated in mature dog whelks, less often in juveniles.[3]

The shell surface can be fairly smooth interrupted only with growth lines, or when the snail is living in more sheltered areas the shell surface can be somewhat rough and lamellose. The surface is spirally corded. The outer lip is dentate and ridged within. The columella is smooth.

The external shell colour is usually a whitish grey, but can be a wide variety of orange, yellow, brown, black, or banded with any combination of these colours. They can even, occasionally, be green, blue, or pink.

Ecology[edit]

Habitat[edit]

The dog whelk lives in rocky shores, and estuarine conditions. Climatically it lives between the 0°C and 20°C isotherms.[citation needed]

Effects of the habitat[edit]

Shells of the dog whelk

Wave action tends to confine the dog whelk to more sheltered shores, however, this can be counteracted, both by adaptations to tolerate it such as the shell and muscular foot, and by the avoidance of direct exposure to wave action afforded by making use of sheltered microhabitats in rocky crevices.[citation needed] The preferred substrate material of the dog whelk is solid rock and not sand, which adds to its problems at lower levels on the shore where weathering is likely to have reduced the stability of the seabed.[citation needed] Water loss by evaporation has to be tolerated (by means of the operculum which holds water in and prevents its escape as vapour), or avoided (by moving into water or a shaded area).[citation needed]

The peak in dog whelk population density is approximately coincidental with the mid tidal zone. It lives in the middle shore. In general it can be said that at high vertical heights on the shoreline the dog whelk is most threatened by biotic factors such as predation from birds and interspecific competition for food, but abiotic factors are the primary concern, creating a harsh environment in which it is difficult to survive.[citation needed] At low vertical heights it is biotic factors, such as predation from crabs and intraspecific competition, which cause problems. The upper limit of the range in which the dog whelk is generally found is approximately coincidental with the mean high water neap tide line, and the lower limit of the range is approximately coincidental with the mean low water neap tide line, so that the vast majority of dog whelks are found on the mid tidal zone.[citation needed]

Tidal pools and comparable microhabitats extend the vertical range of organisms such as the dog whelk as they provide a more constant environment, but they are prone to increased salinity because evaporation concentrates dissolved substances. This can create toxic conditions for many species.[citation needed]

The dog whelk can only survive out of water for a limited period, as it will gradually become desiccated and die if emersed for too long.[citation needed] Metabolic processes within cells take place in solution, and a decrease in water content makes it impossible for the organism to function properly. In experiments it has been shown that 50% of dog whelks die at 40°C, and it can be assumed that at temperatures lower than this a smaller proportion will be killed off.[citation needed] Furthermore, the dog whelk has to excrete ammonia directly into water, as it does not have the adaptation possessed by many upper shore species which would allow it to produce uric acid for excretion without loss of water. When kept emersed for seven days at a temperature of 18°C, 100% of dog whelks die, in contrast to many periwinkle species which can lose even more water than the dog whelk (i.e. more than 37% of their total body mass) but survive as a result of their ability to excrete toxic waste products more efficiently.[citation needed]

Feeding habits[edit]

Its adaptations include a modified radula (a toothed chitinous structure) to bore holes in the shells of prey, complemented by an organ on the foot which secretes a shell-softening chemical. When a hole has been formed paralysing chemicals and digestive enzymes are secreted inside the shell to break the soft body down into a ‘soup’ which can be sucked out with the proboscis. Mussels have developed a defensive strategy of tethering and immobilising with byssus threads any dog whelks invading their beds, leading to the whelks' starvation.[4] The plates of barnacles can be pushed apart with the proboscis, and the entire individual is eaten in about a day, although larger animals such as mussels may take up to a week to digest. Feeding only occurs when conditions are conducive to such an activity, and during these times the dog whelk consumes large quantities of food so that the gut is always kept as full as possible. This allows shelter until more food is required, when foraging resumes. If waves are large or there is an excessive risk of water loss the dog whelk will remain inactive in sheltered locations for long periods.[citation needed]

Predators[edit]

Predators of the dog whelk include various species of crabs and birds. Protection against predation from crabs which attempt to pull the soft body out through the shell aperture can be afforded by growing teeth around the edge of the aperture.[citation needed] Many predators cannot smash the strong shell of an adult dog whelk, but juveniles are vulnerable to attack from many predatory species.[citation needed] Eider Ducks and various other birds simply swallow the entire body with its shell, while oystercatchers and various crustaceans are often capable of crushing or breaking the shells.[citation needed] In the winter they endure more predation from Purple Sandpipers and similar wading birds, but in the summer crabs represent a greater threat. In general, the dog whelk can be thought of as being vulnerable to birds when emersed, and to crabs when immersed.[citation needed]

Human use[edit]

The dog-whelk can be used to produce red-purple and violet dyes,[5] like its Mediterranean relations the spiny dye-murex Bolinus brandaris, the banded dye-murex Hexaplex trunculus and the rock-shell Stramonita haemastoma which provided the red-purple and violet colours that the Ancient World valued so highly.[6]

In Ireland, on the island of Inishkea North, Co. Mayo, archaeologists found a whelk-dyeing workshop, dated to the 7th century AD, complete with a small, presumed vat, and a pile of broken-open dog-whelk shells.[7] Unfortunately, no such workshop is known from Britain for the Early Medieval period. However, a double-checked trace of bromine, indicating the presence of whelk-dye, has been found on one page of an Anglo-Saxon book known as the Barberini Gospels. This manuscript dates to the late 8th or early 9th century AD, and the whelk dye occurs as a background panel to white lettering at the beginning of St John’s gospel. Efforts have also been made to find whelk dye on surviving fragments of Anglo-Saxon textiles, but the chemical analyses so far carried out have proved negative for bromine.[8]

An Anglo-Saxon account of the accession ceremony of Aldfrith of Northumbria involved whelk-dyed cloth, although this may simply be a poetic echo of Roman ceremonies. Another example involves an account of valuable textiles brought to England by Wilfrid of Ripon.[9]

Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!