Kellet's Whelk

Kelletia kelletii





Kellet’s Whelk (Kelletia kelletii) are slow growing sea snail found south of Point Conception (1). The shells are white or gray, with many thin lines that encircle the shell, with the K. kelletii themselves having a yellow coloration and black or white spots across its flesh (2). While they can be relatively large, reaching lengths of up to 17.5 cm, they are very slow growing (1). While the exact growth rate is unknown most K. kelletii take more than 20 years to reach lengths of 9.0 cm (1). K. kelletii’s habitat ranges from intertidal to subtidal, commonly found in kelp forest or rocky reefs (1). They exhibit sexual dimorphism, with larger females, and internal fertilization (1). Spawning events occur annually in March through May (1). K. kelletii are opportunistic carnivores, scrapping food with their radula and prehensile proboscis (1).


(1) Hubbard, K. (2008). Kellet’s Whelk, Kelletia kelletii (pp. 1-6) (United States of America, CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, Marine Region 7). CA: Status of the Fisheries Report.

(2) Gotshall, D. W. (2005). Guide to marine invertebrates: Alaska to Baja California. Monterey, CA: Sea Challengers.

(Photograph) Gerald and Buff Corsi © California Academy of Sciences


  • rocky intertidal