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Dire whelk

Lirabuccinum dirum


This Dire whelk shell was about 4 cm long, gray and smoothed by the sea. Now has been caught by the spines of a Purple sea urchin and has become the center piece of its decoration. Scientists think this behavior protects urchins from drying out, getting eaten by gulls or being damaged by the sun's ultraviolet rays.


Spotted in a tide pool at Tongue Point Marine Sanctuary.


This whelk is found in shallow waters in the northeastern Pacific Ocean.

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Brian38 2 years ago

Ha ha great question Neil. I wonder the same questions.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 2 years ago

That is really unusual behaviour. What happens next? Is it used as shade, and does the limpet get shoved down the gulls throat? Is the whelk released when the sun goes down? So many questions!! I love this spotting, Brian. Well done.

Spotted by

Washington, USA

Spotted on Apr 20, 2019
Submitted on May 12, 2019

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