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Whelk Shells

Whelk Shells
Knobbed Whelk Shells for Sale Wholesale and individually and Left Handed Whelk Shells for Sale in bulk and individually also referred to as Lightning Whelk Shells,  Busycon sinistrum.  For shell collectors and decorators, we also offer hand selected whelk shells allowing you can buy the shell in the photo. They are the State Shell of Texas.  Left-Handed Whelks, Lightning Whelks, are a pale colored shell accented with brown stripes and they have either a tan or orange mouth opening.   Native Americans harvested whelks for religious ceremonies and practical tools. Many tribes believed that the "left handed" spiral made the shells sacred objects, but whelks were also eaten and their shells used as scrapers, gouges and even cups and bowls. Some larger shells can hold up to one quart of liquid. It is believed that sailors even used the egg cases as sponges for bathing.  Busycon sinistrum is a large edible predatory sea snail. Sinistrum is Latin for left. The size of the shell varies between 7.9 to 17.7 inches in length.   This species normally has a sinistral (left-handed) shell, thus the scientific name. (When the shell is held with the spiral end up, the opening is on the left side.)  Knobbed whelks are native to the North Atlantic coast from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Northern Florida. Most are right handed and are thick and strong.  The shell is ivory to pale grey in color highlighted with streaks of brown. The mouth opening is orange or light tan. The meat of the whelk is used by humans as food in such dishes as raw salads, burgers, fritters and chowder. 

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