Movement and behavior of whelks (Family Melongenidae) in Georgia coastal waters
Shalack, Jacob Daniel
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Two studies were performed: 1) to examine whelk harvest potential and the pot efficiency of five types of traps and 2) to examine the movement and behavior of the knobbed whelk, Busycon carica (Gmelin 1791) on intertidal flats. A total of 734 whelks [47.7% Busycotypus canalicalatus (Linnaeus, 1758), 34.7% B. carica, 17.6% Busycotypus spiratus (Hollister 1958)] were caught during the trapping study in Wassaw Sound and Beard Creek, Georgia. Traps with smooth plastic surfaces caught more whelks than traps without at both locations. During the tracking study at Wassaw Island, Georgia, initial whelk movement was a random spreading out from the release point. By day 8, whelks had concentrated on and near live oyster reefs. The average individual minimum daily movement rate was significantly shorter for males as compared to females (ANOVA p<0.0001). Whelks also shifted from surface to more buried positions as daytime temperatures increased (Chi squared .=0.05).