Skip Navigation

Species Search:
Ask an Expertthreatened and/or endangered

Cannibalistic Dog Whelks?

Yesterday I was walking along a shore, and saw a group of Dog Whelks on a rock near to the water that appeared to be attacking each other. I didn't think that they ever prey on each other though - is it possible that they were doing so?

Wildlife Expert - Ken Burton

I've never heard of cannibalism in whelks, but I'm sure it's possible. However, I think it's much more likely that these whelks were mating. Higher water temperatures in late spring and summer trigger the females to release pheromones that attract males. Dog whelks are polyandrous, which means that each female mates with multiple males. I suspect that you saw a female and her attendant males jostling for position.

New Search