Mud Creepers

Mud Creepers (1) -  Empty shell of Telescopium telescopium L., Mud Whelk, at Cairns, Queensland, Australia, with remains of an oyster shell and barnacles attached.

Telescopus by Dominic Johns - A sculpture on the esplanade at Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Mud Creepers are a common sight on the tidal mud flats at Cairns in Queensland, Australia. Also called Telescope Shells, Mudwhelks, Telescopic Creepers, or Mangrove Mud Whelk. The Latin name is Telescopium telescopium L. They are so emblematic of the place that they have been glorified by a fantastic piece of sculpture by Dominic Johns on the Esplanade.

The reality, however, is that this large gastropod marine mollusc – living on the glutinous muds exposed by the ebbing tide – is not the most attractive of seashore creatures, in fact, a bit creepy. It is dark in colour, about 6 inches long, and the shell is very thick and heavy, The protruding muscular foot and tubular siphon of the animal are hard to distinguish from the mud itself but I believe the flesh is edible.

Telescopus by Dominic Johns - A sculpture on the esplanade at Cairns, Queensland, Australia.This sea snail seems to struggle as it drags its weighty shell across the mud in strange irregular movements without the supporting medium of water. The furrows incidentally ploughed by the shells leave networks of trails on the mud. In life the shells are often caked with mud but empty shells washed up on the beach show there is actually a great striped pattern.

Mud Creepers (2) - Empty shell of the Mud Whelk or Mud Creeper, Telescopium telescopium L held to show the apertural end at Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

Mud Creepers (3) -  Empty shell of Telescopium telescopium L., Mud Whelk, on the shore at Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

Mud Creepers (4) -  Empty shell of Telescopium telescopium L., Mud Whelk, on the shore at Cairns, Queensland, Australia, with remains of an oyster shell and barnacles attached.

Mud Creepers (5) -  Empty shell of Telescopium telescopium L., Mud Whelk, on the shore at Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

Mud Creepers (6) -  Empty shells of Telescopium telescopium L., Mud Whelk, on the shore at Cairns, Queensland, Australia. One shell has barnacles attached.

Mud Creepers (7) -  Empty shell of Telescopium telescopium L. on the beach at Cairns, Queensland, Australia, with fiddler crabs.

Mud Creepers (8) - Empty shell of Telescopium telescopium L., Mud Whelk, on the shore at Cairns, Queensland, Australia. The shell has barnacles attached.

Mud Creepers (9) - The tidal mudflats at cairns, Queensland, Australia - habitat of Telescopium telescopium L., the Mud Creeper, Mud Whelk, Telescopic Creeper, or Mangrove Mud Whelk.

Mud Creepers (10) - The tidal mudflats at Cairns, Queensland, Australia - habitat of Telescopium telescopium L., the Mud Creeper, Mud Whelk, Telescopic Creeper, or Mangrove Mud Whelk.

Mud Creepers (11) - The tidal mudflats at Cairns, Queensland, Australia - habitat of Telescopium telescopium L., the Mud Creeper, Mud Whelk, Telescopic Creeper, or Mangrove Mud Whelk.

Mud Creepers (12) - Living specimen of Telescopium telescopium L., the Mangrove Mud Whelk, crawling through the glutinous mud at low tide, its heavy shell making a furrow behind it as it is dragged along, Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

Mud Creepers (13) - Trails left in the mud where living Telescopium telescopium Mangrove Mud Whelks have dragged their heavy shells along when the tide is out.

Mud Creepers (14) - Empty shell of Telescopium telescopium L. on the beach at Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

Mud Creepers (15) - Empty shell of Telescopium telescopium L. on the beach at Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

Mud Creepers (16) - Empty shell of Telescopium telescopium L. on the beach at Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

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