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Is the darker brown of the older part of the shell an encrustation, or is the lighter brown part new growth after an injury?
I dont think its just encrustation, there is a definite age difference between the clean bit and the rest so maybe just as you have suggested, it has been broken and regrown. There is a substantial step there and the shape of the division doesnt correspond to the rings of growth so it might have been broken along that edge?
I think you are right about the damage & regrowth. This is a good post as most on iSpot are of empty shells or the egg masses. The operculum is well shown.
The big question is JoC, what is strong enough to apply enough force to break such a shell?
Whelks often have this kind of irregularity in their shells and it does seem to suggest older damage in many cases.
Yes the spotted colouration and indeed the form of the foot of the whelk is interesting to see. I think these are eaten by some other nationalities but I'm not very eager to find out why to be honest!
There are two recent posts of gulls with these whelks, and I am wondering if they could be responsible for this sort of damage.
Also, a post about shore crabs cracking dog whelk shells - http://www.ispotnature.org/node/324530
Might lobsters be strong enough to crack this shell edge?
Trawler damage also mentioned as a possibility.
p.s I come from London. We bought & ate whelks regularly.
What are they like to eat? Its just one thing that hasnt appealed to me- maybe in time.
Lobster and trawler are probably both strong enough to smash a whelk. As far as I have been told a large lobster has no shortage of crushing power.
Cathal, they are not slimy cooked, nor gristly but can be rubbery if overcooked. But the taste mainly comes from the dressing normally associated with them. In my 'childhood' days I much preferred mussels or cockles - who could define their taste? However, it is worth a try as the texture with other similar sea food is worthy.
Ive been dubious about eating marine molluscs since childhood when I sampled various things under the direction of my father and uncles. Our early catches consisted of limpets, winkles and dog whelks. I just recall once having to spit out something unbearably tangy. It was either a dogwhelk or a common periwinkle. Since that the only local mollusc that Ive bothered with are the mussels. Unfortunately I dont have cockles to gather locally but have had them from Co Down and they were top class.
As youngsters we regularly boiled and ate limpets pretending we liked them because we believed the tales that people lived on them in the past. I dont think I am into seafood enough to like whelks.
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