Clean Ocean Action

Clean Ocean Advocate, November 2004

Institute of Coastal Education

Pacific Avenue, Wildwood

Tony Totah, 609-729-9262,


Commonly referred to as conch, the large snails that are found in New Jersey are actually whelks; conches are found in more tropical waters.  New Jersey has two whelks that are common in its waters.  The Knobbed and Channeled whelk are favorite shells for beachcombers.  Besides shells, their spiral egg cases can be found on the beach after storms.  The egg case, which holds hundreds of eggs, looks like a spiral string with many pouches attached.  After hatching, the young snails eat through a small plug located along the center edge of each pouch to escape.  Adult whelks feed mainly on clams.  Whelks are harvested and sold as conch or by their Italian name, scungilli.  A large whelk shell may have taken the snail over 30 years to make.  In 1995, the Knobbed Whelk became the State Shell of NJ.  Stop by the Institute of Coastal Education (I.C.E.) to learn more about Whelks.


(What’s Cool at ICE and Coastal Creature Feature will appear every other month. Please see last month’s newsletter to guess the October Coastal Creature.)


49 Avenel Blvd.
Long Branch, NJ 07740

Field Office:

Gateway National Recreation Area
Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Voice: (732) 872-0111
FAX: (732) 872-8041

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