The shell is smooth and subpyriform (generally pear-shaped), with a large body whorl and a straight siphonal canal. Between the whorls there is a wide, deep channel at the suture, and there are often weak knobs at the shoulders of the whorls. Finely sculpted lines begin at the siphonal canal and revolve around the shell surface.
The color of the shell is typically a buff gray to light tan. The shell aperture is located on the right side, i.e. the shell of this species is almost always dextral in coiling. Left-handed or sinistral specimens occur rarely.
Channeled whelks prefer sandy, shallow, intertidal or subtidal areas, and can be common in these habitats. They tend to be nocturnal and are known to eat clams.