A Little Spiral Whelk Shell I Can’t Identify

channeled whelk maybe

I came across this little shell a few years ago while walking the flats at low tide on the Indian River. A hermit crab was inside, which is the norm for this area, so I took a few quick (and not very good) photos and moved on. But it did not match the usual selection of shells I see in this area.

Light gray little seashell

The shell was small, so possibly a juvenile, and young mollusk shells can look very different from adults. The only clue I have is from a link I found while researching the Channeled Whelk where there is a photo at Mitchell Publications containing shells that look similar to this one. They seem to have the very tightly coiled spiral on top.

My best guess at the time was a Pear Whelk, but it really didn’t have the rounded top. It didn’t look anything like a Crown Conch either, both of which I see often in the area.

Pear whelks
Three pear whelks with two crown conchs in the center

The partial shell below is a Channeled whelk I found not long ago. I rarely see these pretty bumpy topped shells, in fact this one may have been a first. While researching it, I found the shell identification page linked above, and saw the shell that looks like my gray one listed as a channeled whelk. To me, the image below does not look like the little gray shell, but if the spire had not begun to protrude, I suppose it’s reasonable to link them as the same type of shell.

little channeled whelk seashells
Pretty channeled whelk

For now at least, my best guess is that the little gray shell is a juvenile channeled whelk. If anyone knows for certain, I’d love to know what you think.

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