Delaware Adds State Seashell to List of State Symbols - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Adds State Seashell to List of State Symbols

DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Delaware officially added a new state symbol Tuesday afternoon. The state now has 19 symbols, like the state flower, bird, dessert.

Gov. Jack Markell signed a bill into law naming the channeled whelk the state seashell.

If you're not a shell collector or a marine biologist, you may be wondering what that is.

There might be no better person to answer that question than 12-year-old Allyson Willis. She doesn't sell seashells by the seashore. But she did sell the state on this seashell as a symbol.

"It looks like a conch shell. No other state has the channeled whelk as its state shell," she said.

Her push for a new state symbol was as a Girl Scout project.

"I noticed a lot of states around us had state seashells, and we didn't. That kind of made me mad. So, I decided I wanted to get it."

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control specifically suggested the channeled whelk.

"Essentially it's a very large snail that lives in bay and ocean waters here in Delaware. It's actually very important for commercial fishing," said Rich Wong, a DNREC biologist.

Wong says it's used for scungilli, an Italian food. Shell collectors like them, too.

Walking along the water at South Bowers Beach you're going to see a lot of shells. You'll probably also see a horseshoe crab at this time of year. And if you're lucky during your walk, you may also find a channeled whelk.

Wong says channeled whelk are more common in the bay than the ocean.

"They live on the bottom, on the ground. They bury in the mud. They eat anything they're able to catch."

And now with Willis's help, they will also catch the attention of more people enjoying Delaware's coastline.
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