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Picture

Eastern Mud Whelk (Ilyanassa obsoleta)

If you walk on the mud flats at low tide, you might not immediately recognize these small snails (up to about one inch) which are almost always covered by a layer of mud and algae. Clean one off (it isn't easy), and you'll find a somewhat blunt, brown (or dark, reddish brown) shell with six whorls and a foot drawn well inside.

Eastern mud whelks usually feed on algae and other microscopic life and are found along much of the Atlantic coast. The photo was taken on the mud flats around Toms Cove (see map).

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