Telescopus by Dominic Johns

Giant sculpture of a mangrove mud whelk or mud creeper shell (Telescopium telescopium) by Dominic Johns

You may think it odd to post photographs of a sculpture on a nature blog …. but this giant sculpture on the Cairns Esplanade in Queensland relates to two subjects which are strictly natural history, and on which I have written in earlier posts in Jessica’s Nature Blog. Dominic Johns, the artist, has chosen to depict the locally abundant mollusc known as the Mud Creeper or Mangrove Mud Whelk Telescopium telescopium and has encrusted his creation with a wonderful mosaic of small tiles made from the reknowned Chillagoe marble together with small pieces of iridescent and phosphorescent glass.

Giant sculpture of a mangrove mud whelk or mud creeper shell (Telescopium telescopium) by Dominic Johns

Giant sculpture of a mangrove mud whelk or mud creeper shell (Telescopium telescopium) by Dominic Johns

Detail of a giant sculpture of a mangrove mud whelk or mud creeper shell (Telescopium telescopium) by Dominic Johns

Detail of a giant sculpture of a mangrove mud whelk or mud creeper shell (Telescopium telescopium) by Dominic Johns

Detail of a giant sculpture of a mangrove mud whelk or mud creeper shell (Telescopium telescopium) by Dominic Johns

Detail of a giant sculpture of a mangrove mud whelk or mud creeper shell (Telescopium telescopium) by Dominic Johns

Detail of a giant sculpture of a mangrove mud whelk or mud creeper shell (Telescopium telescopium) by Dominic Johns

Detail of a giant sculpture of a mangrove mud whelk or mud creeper shell (Telescopium telescopium) by Dominic Johns

Detail of a giant sculpture of a mangrove mud whelk or mud creeper shell (Telescopium telescopium) by Dominic Johns

Sign on the Teloscopus sculpture by Dominic Johns.

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2013

All rights reserved

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.

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2013

All Rights Reserved