Veined rapa whelks: Veined rapa whelk reporting and bounty system
Molluscan Ecology Program


Veined rapa whelk reporting and bounty system (continued)

Funding for the rapa whelk bounty program administered by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) was eliminated in the budget cuts for the Commonwealth of Virginia announced by Governor Kaine on Tuesday 9/8/2009. In fairness to our participants, we will pay bounty on all whelks brought to VIMS through Tuesday 9/15/09.

After 9/15/09, if citizens choose to donate rapa whelks that they have caught to VIMS, we cannot pay for them and we cannot pick them up but we will gladly accept whelks at the VIMS Information Desk in Waterman's Hall Monday through Friday between 9 AM and 4 PM.

The rapa whelk bounty program has been an effective method for VIMS scientists to map the distribution and demographics of these invasive predators in local waters. The cooperation of local watermen, seafood processors and private citizens made the bounty program both possible as well as a national and international model of successful collaboration between citizens and scientists.

Since its inception in September 1998, the VIMS rapa whelk bounty program has documented over 18,000 rapa whelks collected in Chesapeake Bay. Funds to support the bounty on rapa whelks have been contributed by:

  • Virginia Saltwater Commercial Fishing Development Fund

  • Virginia Sea Grant Program

  • VIMS Dept. of Fisheries Science

  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

  • Commonwealth of Virginia

What should I do if I find (or think that I have found) an adult veined rapa whelk?

Look at pictures of adult veined rapa whelks and compare these pictures with pictures of adult local whelks and with your specimen. Pay particular attention to:

  • The shell coloration - are there any black veins along the shell mouth?
  • The shell thickness
  • The shell height
  • The thickness and texture of the shell columella

If you think you have found a rapa whelk, call the VIMS Rapa Whelk Reporting Line at 804.684.7361. Please make sure to leave a contact name and phone number so that we can return your call. If at all possible, please keep the animal alive in seawater.

 

 

 

 

 



How do I tell the difference between very young rapa whelks and other small snails that occur locally?

Juvenile or very young rapa whelks may be confused with several local species of snails, particularly Atlantic oyster drills, thick-lipped oyster drills, and mottled dog whelks. All of these snails (including juvenile rapa whelks) are approximately one inch in length and may be found on rocks, seawalls, oyster shells, or other hard substrates. If you find a small snail and think it might be a juvenile rapa whelk, compare your specimen with pictures of juvenile rapa whelks and adult Atlantic oyster drills, thick-lipped oyster drills, and mottled dog whelks. Pay particular attention to:

  • The shape of the spire especially the presence or absence of distinct "shoulders" on the spire

  • The color of the shell including any distinctive bands or color patterns

  • The texture of the opercular lip/opening including distinctive teeth or knobs

If you think you have found a rapa whelk, call the VIMS Rapa Whelk Reporting Line at 804. 684.7361. Please make sure to leave a contact name and phone number so that we can return your call. If at all possible, please keep the animal alive in seawater.

 

 

 
 
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Document last modified 09.10.2009
© Molluscan Ecology Program. Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
All rights reserved. All images © Juliana M. Harding.