Whelk

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Several different species of large whelks in the family Buccinidae on sale at a fish market in Japan

Sea Whelk is a common name that is applied to various kinds of sea snail,[1] many of which have historically been used, or are still used, by humans for food.

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.

Usage[edit]

The common name "whelk" is also spelled welk or even wilks. The word originated from the Proto-Germanic root "weluka", which may come from the Proto-Indo-European root "wel-", meaning to turn or revolve. [2]

The species, genera and families referred to by this common name vary a great deal from one geographic area to another.

USA[edit]

In the United States, whelk refers to several large edible species in the genera Busycon and Busycotypus, which are now classified in the family Buccinidae. These are sometimes called Busycon whelks.

In addition, the unrelated invasive murex Rapana venosa is referred to as the Veined rapa whelk or Asian rapa whelk in the family Muricidae.

British Isles, Belgium, Netherlands[edit]

In the British Isles, Belgium and the Netherlands, the word is used for a number of species in the family Buccinidae, especially Buccinum undatum, an edible European and Northern Atlantic species.

In the British Isles, the common name "dog whelk" is used for Nucella lapillus (family Muricidae) and for Nassarius species (family Nassariidae).

Scotland[edit]

In Scotland, the word "whelk" is also used to mean the periwinkle (Littorina littorea), family Littorinidae.[3]

West Indies[edit]

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.

Asia[edit]

Skewered whelks from Japan.

In Japan, whelks are frequently used in sashimi and sushi. In Vietnam, they are served in a dish called Bún ốc - vermicelli with sea snails.

Australia, New Zealand[edit]

In Australia and New Zealand, species of the genus Cabestana (family Ranellidae) are called predatory whelks.

Some common examples[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.reefland.com/articles/rho/identify-this-conchs-and-whelks]
  2. ^ "whelk" [1] in the Online Etymological Dictionary, Douglas Harper, 2001
  3. ^ Multilingual Dictionary of Fish and Fish Products, prepared by the OECD, Paris, second edition, 1978

External links[edit]