Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Exhibiting Kellet’s Whelks

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Kellet’s Whelks. photo by Carly Hulse

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum invites everyone to meet its resident Kellet’s Whelks in the Cold Water Touch Pool.

“Kellet’s Whelks (Kelletia kelletii) spend most of their time buried in the sand, but they will quickly emerge when they sense that food is near,” explains Carly Hulse, the National Shell Museum’s Senior Aquarist.

Like other whelks, they have chemoreceptors that allow them to sense dissolved particles in the water, allowing them to find food that may be far away. At times, large groups of these predators (and sometimes scavengers) can often be found feeding off the same food item. These gastropods have a unique extensible proboscis that can extend far beyond the length of its shell. In their natural environment, they can be found with their proboscis extended, deep into the crevices of the rocky shores where they live.

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is a Natural History Museum, and the only museum in the United States devoted solely to shells and mollusks. Their mission is to connect people to the natural world through their love of shells and the marvelous mollusks that create them. Their collections, programs, and expertise inspire learning, support scientific research, tell the story of mollusks, and the ocean that they inhabit. For more information on the Museum, please visit or call (239) 395-2233.

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