Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey Archive, U.S. Geological Survey, Bugwood.org
A large predatory snail that has a stout gray to red-brown shell with black veined markings
Native to the Sea of Japan, Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and the Bohai Sea
Unknown, possibly ship ballast water
Since they were discovered in 1999 by the VIMS Trawl Survey Group, numerous reports have been documented in the lower James, Elizabeth, and York Rivers, Mobjack Bay, and lower Chesapeake Bay. One rapa whelk was collected at Tangier Island, the northernmost finding in the Bay.
Rapa whelk feed on oysters, clams, and mussels. Their presence in the Chesapeake Bay puts greater pressure on the already stressed shellfish populations and the fisheries dependant on them.