Knobbed Whelk – Georgia’s State Seashell

Knobbed Whelk Jekyll Island
Knobbed Whelk Appearance

Georgia’s Knobbed Whelk has six spirals radiating outwards, with points or knobs around the top. Its shell consists of white, brown, and grey colors, with an orange mouth. If the shell is alive, its glass-like brown foot will cover the shell opening. The Knobbed Whelk is right-handed. Hold the shell in your right hand with the spiral pointing up and the opening facing you. If you point your thumb up you can imagine the fingers of your right hand sticking into the whelk shell’s opening. The Lightning Whelk is a left-handed whelk which looks very similar to the Knobbed Whelk. It is the only left-handed whelk that lives near Jekyll’s shores.

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Sand Dollars – Beachcombing on Jekyll Island

Sea Urchins

The Sand dollar is a flat member of the sea urchin family.  All sea urchins are roughly circular in shape and have a hard skeleton called a test.  Live sand dollars have a test covered in velvety, hair-like spins. A sand dollar uses these spins to capture food particles and to move the food to its mouth on the bottom of its body. Seagulls are the most common sand dollar prey.

Handling a sand dollar is not harmful to you or the sea urchin. Sand dollars have a five-petaled design visible on the top of their exoskeleton. They are often found on the east-facing beaches on Jekyll Island near the waterline.
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