Lightning Whelk (Sinistrofulgur perversum)

Origin: Caribbean and Gulf Coast
Sighted at: The Mule Keys off the coast of the Florida Keys, Florida


The lightning whelk is an aquatic sea snail. I found this one right next to the boat during my kayak trip of last weekend!

Sadly, the lightning whelk doesn’t get its name from having an electricity attack if you hit its shell; rather, it’s named for the lightning-bolt pattern of streaks that can be seen on juveniles of the species. (The pictures adult doesn’t have these streaks.)

The enormous muscle that you can see “inside” the shell is used for prying open clams!