For many beach-goers to Assateague Island, shell collecting is a popular activity. When searching for that perfectly intact beautifully colored shell, take a moment to think about the animals called mollusks that created and lived in these treasures. Mollusks create their shell as they grow. They do this with a part of their body called the mantle, along with calcium deposits. Bivalves, like clams build shell along the edges and thicken it from within. Snails such as whelks grow in an increasing spiral, moving their body attachment as they grow.
Gastropods are subclass of mollusks that most people refer to as snails. The knobbed whelk (Busycon carica), and channeled whelk (Busycon canaliculatum) are often mistaken for their southern cousins the conch, however these whelks are found in more northern territories and feed on bivalves.