Lightning whelk

Busycon pulleyi

Family Melongenidae - whelks

Distinguishing
Characteristics
Gastropod (1 shell); shell spiral in shape, left-handed (sinistral); shell color with off-white to tan or gray with brown or dark radial streaks, streaks disappear in adults, band of lighter color at the lower curve of the body whorl; small short projections outlining the whorls; spiraling ridges on whorls; spire is short to medium; aperture is oblong with a definite angle at the top of the 1st whorl; inside aperture is white, yellow or gray, sometimes with brown streaks, slightly grooved; aperture usually opens on the left side (looking at the aperture side), but right-handed shells do occur; siphonal canal long; snail body is black or dark.
Similar Species
Looks like a splendid whelk but the aperture opens to the left (sinistral). According to the experts, this is the only sinistral (left-handed) whelk on the Texas coast.
Habitat
Gulf and bay
Maximum Size
41 cm (16 in)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
B. perversum pulleyi, B. perversum, B. contrarium, B. sinistrum
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