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Common dog whelk


up to 5 centimeters




5 to 10 years


barnacles, other sea snails and mussels


TBT pollution



  • Dut: Purperslak
  • Lat: Nucella lapillus
  • Eng: Common dog whelk
  • Ger: Nordische Purpurschnecke
  • Dan: Purpursnegl
Common dog whelk, Sytske Dijksen,

Common dog whelk

The common dog whelk is a formidable predator, even though it doesn't look dangerous. The snail uses its tongue to grate a hole in the house of another animal, for example, bivalves or other sea snails. Then it injects a fluid, just like a spider, which dissolves the prey. He then 'drinks' up the juicy victim. Such a meal costs a lot of preparation and can take between 6 to 10 hours. This snail almost disappeared from the use of tin-bearing paints (TBT) on ship hulls.

  • Distribution and habitat

    Once again, the common dog whelk is found more often along the coasts of the North Sea, as deep as 40 meters. The Netherlands forms the northern boundary of its distribution area, which means the species is less common here. You can find living specimen on the dikes and docks in the Zeeuws waters, especially where there is lots of wash. They are rare along the Holland beaches and in the wadden region.

  • Eggs
    Common dog whelk eggs, Sytske Dijksen,

    The eggs of the common dog whelk look like small yellowish white bottles and are lay on stones.