Masonboro Island is a great place to explore finding everything from driftwood to seashells.
One of the most sought after shells are the Whelks or as most people call them conchs.
The creatures that create these shells are truly members of the whelk family and they fall in the same class as snails. Being snails they are also edible.
The most common whelks to our area are:
Knobbed Whelks: most striking characteristic the points around the top and looking at it from the front it is right handed.
Lightning Whelks: These whelks also have points around the top but looking at this shell from the front, it is left-handed.
Channel Whelks: These whelks have a very smooth spiral around the top creating small channels or grooves in its top. Looking at these from the front, they are right handed
One of the more exotic whelks to find is the Stimpson s Whelk who have a smaller, more elongated appearance. These shells are much harder to find, usually they wash up after big storms that have a strong ground swell.
The only Conch we have in our waters is the Horse Conch, which has a similar shape as a Stimpson s Whelk only much larger and heavier.