Telescopium telescopium

Telescopium telescpoium.gif
Telescopium telescopium - apertural view of shell.
Photo: Elizabeth Tucker

Name Ref

Telescopium telescopium (Linnaeus, 1758)
[Nomenclature follows Australian Faunal Directory]


See Australian Faunal Directory

Common Name

Telescope Snail, Telescope Mud Creeper, Telescopic Creeper (Australian Faunal Directory)



For an evolutionary perspective of this family see ([1])

Higher Classification

Gastropoda, Orthogastropoda, Caenogastropoda, Sorbeoconcha, Cerithimorpha, Cerithioidea


This large, heavy, conical snail reaches about 15 cm and is dark brown to almost black. Each whorl making up the tall spire is sculptured with a few heavy spiral cords. The periphery of the last whorl is strongly angled and the base is only slightly convex. The rather small oval aperture has a short canal that is twisted below the base and the thin outer lip is not flared or thickened.

The horny circular operculum is a little smaller than the aperture.

The head-foot of the animal is black, the foot is short and the snout is highly extendible. There is a third eye on its mantle margin, in addition to a pair of eyes at the bases of the head tentacles.

Aspects of the anatomy are described by ([2]; [3]; [4]; [5]) and the sperm morphology by ([6]; [7]; [8]).

Telescopium telescpoium 2.gif
Shell of Telescopium telescopium
Photo: Elizabeth Tucker


Tropical Indo-West Pacific: Tropical Australia (OBIS: Indo-Pacific Molluscan Database): Western Australia from Broome, Northern Territory to Fraser Island, Queensland (Australian Museum).

Ecology and Biology

This species is often abundant in and near mangroves and is amphibious, being active on wet mud while the tide is out. It is capable of surviving out of water for considerable periods of time.

This species has separate sexes. The spawn is a large gelatinous, ribbon-like structure laid just below low tide and is attached to stones or other objects and contains ~ 50,000 eggs ([9]).

Ecological studies include ([10]; [11]; [12]; [13]).

Studies on growth rate ([14]; [15]) and evidence for decline ([16]; [17]).

Some of the papers on the physiology of this species include ([18]; [19]; [20]; [21]; [22]; [23]; [24]; [25]; [26]; [14]; [5]; [27]; [28]; [29]); including biomedical applications (e.g., [30]; [31]; [32]; [33]; [34]; [35]; [36]; [37]; [38]) and the uptake of contaminants ([39]; [40]; [41]; [42]; [41]; [43]; [44]; [45]; [46]).

Telescopium is (and was) commonly eaten in parts of SE Asia and by northern Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities and in Papua New Guinea (e.g., [47]).

World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS)

OBIS: Indo-Pacific Molluscan Database

Wild Singapore

Sea Life Base

Hardy's Internet Guide to Marine Gastropods



  1. Reid, D.G., Dyal, P., Lozouet, P., Glaubrecht, M. and Williams, S.T. (2008). Mudwhelks and mangroves: The evolutionary history of an ecological association (Gastropoda : Potamididae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 47(2): 680-699. (more)
  2. Swaminathan, S. (1972a). Functional morphology of the male reproductive system of Telescopium telescopium (Linn.). Journal of the Annamalai University (Science) 30: 257-265. (more)
  3. Houbrick, R.S. (1991). Systematic review and functional morphology of the mangrove snails Terebralia and Telescopium (Potamididae, Prosobranchia). Malacologia 33(1-2): 289-338. (more)
  4. Das, S. and Manna, B. (1993). Alimentary system of Telescopium telescopium (Linn.) (Mesogastropoda: Potamidae). Environment and Ecology (Kalyani) 11: 283-291. (more)
  5. Ghose, G.P. and Manna, B. (1994). Nervous system and neurosecretion in Telescopium telescopium (Linn.) (Mesogastropoda: Potamidae). Environment and Ecology (Kalyani) 12: 147-155. (more)
  6. Healy, J.M. (1983b). Ultrastructure of euspermatozoa of cerithiacean gastropods (Prosobranchia, Mesogastropoda). Journal of Morphology 178(1): 57-75. (more)
  7. Datta, U., Hembram, M.L., Roy, S. and Mukherjee, P. (2010). Sperm morphology and natural biomolecules from marine snail Telescopium telescopium: a phylogenetic perspective. International Journal of Morphology 28: 175-182. (more)
  8. Dutta, U. and Pakrashi, A. (2000). Morphological features of sperm from a marine mollusc (Telescopium telescopium), some immunological and physio-chemical studies of the extract from spermatheca gland. Proceedings of the Zoological Society (Calcutta) 53: 15-23. (more)
  9. Ramamoorthi, K. and Natarajan, R. (1973). Spawning in Telescopium telescopium (Potamididae Gastropoda). Venus, the Japanese Journal of Malacology 31: 158-159. (more)
  10. Lasiak, T. and Dye, A.H. (1986). Behavioral adaptations of the mangrove whelk, Telescopium telescopium (L), to life in a semiterrestrial environment. Journal of Molluscan Studies 52: 174-179. (more)
  11. Budiman, A. (1988). Some aspects on the ecology of mangrove whelk Telescopium telescopium Linne 1758 (Mollusca; Gastropoda; Potamididae). Treubia 29: 237-246. (more)
  12. Kurhe, A.R., Mane, U.H. and Pawar, B.A. (2009). Studies on the ecology of gastropod molluscs of mangrove swamps of Bhatye estuary. Journal of Experimental Zoology, India 12: 23-28. (more)
  13. Rambabu, A.V.S., Prasad, B.V., Reddy, D.L., Rao, P.N. and Rao, M.B. (1984). The impact of a fishing harbor under construction on the distribution and zonation of the flora and the molluscan fauna of a tropical mangrove ecosystem. Water Science and Technology 16(3-4): 425-431. (more)
  14. Rao, M.B. and Rambabu, A.V.S. (1992). A preliminary study on the growth-rate of the tropical mud snail Telescopium telescopium (L.) (Gastropoda, Prosobranchia, Potamididae). Proceedings of the International Malacological Congress 9: 41-48. (more)
  15. Sriraman, K., Ajmalkhan, S. and Ramamoorthi, K. (1988). 24. Age and growth in Telescopium telescopium L. CMFRI Bulletin 42: 126-129. (more)
  16. Ozawa, T., Inoue, K. and Kuroda, T. (1995). Distribution change and disappearance of Telescopium telescopium (Gastropoda; Potamididae) in mangroves of the Nansei Islands induced by postglacial climatic change. Bulletin of the Nagoya University Furukawa Museum 11: 23-33. (more)
  17. Ohgaki, S.-I. and Kurozumi, T. (2000). Historical decline of the mangrove gastropods, Telescopium and Terebralia in the Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan: Evidence from shell middens. Asian Marine Biology 17: 125-135. (more)
  18. Swaminathan, S. (1958). The amino acids of the crystalline style of Telescopium telescopium Linn. (Gastropoda: Prosobranchiata). Journal of the Zoological Society of India 10: 150-154. (more)
  19. Swaminathan, S. (1972b). Fat content of the soft parts of Telescopium telescopium (Linn.). Journal of the Annamalai University (Science) 30: 267-268. (more)
  20. Alexander, C.G. and Rae, J.C. (1974). The structure and formation of the crystalline style of Telescopium (Gastropoda, Prosobranchia). Veliger 17: 56-60. (more)
  21. Alexander, C.G., Cutler, R.L. and Yellowless, D. (1979). Studies on the composition and enzyme content of the crystalline style of Telescopium telescopium (L) (Gastropoda). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology B-Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 64: 83-89. (more)
  22. Cutler, R.L. and Yellowlees, D. (1979). Purification and characterization of 2 endo-(1- 3)-beta-d-glucanases from Telescopium telescopium. Carbohydrate Research 75: 221-229. (more)
  23. Yellowlees, D. (1980). Evidence for the origin of the crystalline style enzymes of Telescopium telescopium (Linn) (Gastropoda). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology B-Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 65: 717-721. (more)
  24. Das, S., Ghosh, U.R., Sur, R. and Ghose, K.C. (1982). Comparative studies on food and digestion in Viviparus bengalensis, Acrostoma variabile and Telescopium telescopium (Prosobranchia, Gastropoda, Mollusca). Comparative Physiology and Ecology 7(3): 183-187. (more)
  25. Desai, P.V., Halkar, S.G. and Hollegadee, T. (1989). Circulation dynamics of a gastropod mollusk, Telescopium telescopium. Comparative Physiology and Ecology 14: 4-6. (more)
  26. Mala, D. and Kumar Sur, R. (1991). Changes in ammonia, urea and uric acid during aestivation in three gastropod molluscs of different habitats. Comparative Physiology and Ecology 16(3): 121-127. (more)
  27. Anand, T.P., Patterson, J. and Ayyakkannu, K. (1996). Lytic activity of gut microflora of the prosobranch Telescopium telescopium L., Pichavaram mangrove, southeastern India. Phuket Marine Biological Center Special Publication 16: 311-318. (more)
  28. Rakshit, S., Bhattacharyya, D.K. and Misra, K.K. (1997). Distribution of major lipids and fatty acids of the estuarine gastropod mollusc Telescopium telescopium. Folia Biologica-Krakow 45(1-2): 83-87. (more)
  29. Samanta, S.K., Kumar, K.T.M., Roy, A., Karmakar, S., Lahiri, S., Palit, G., Vedasiromoni, J.R. and Sen, T. (2008). An insight on the neuropharmacological activity of Telescopium telescopium- a mollusc from the Sunderban mangrove. Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology 22: 683-691. (more)
  30. Pakrashi, A., Datta, U. and Choudhury, A. (1992a). A search for immunocontraceptive agent from marine sources: Role of antispermatheca globulin of Telescopium telescopium on fertility regulation in male rat. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 30: 1066-1074. (more)
  31. Pakrashi, A., Roy, P. and Datta, U. (2001). Antimicrobial effect of protein(s) isolated from a marine mollusc Telescopium telescopium. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 45: 249-252. (more)
  32. Pakrashi, A. and Datta, U. (2001). In vitro sperm agglutination and spermicidal activity of protein isolated from a marine mollusc Telescopium telescopium (Gastropoda). Indian Journal of Marine Sciences 30: 93-97. (more)
  33. Anand, T.P., Rajaganapathi, J. and Edward, J.K.P. (1997). Antibacterial activity of marine molluscs from Portonovo region. Indian Journal of Marine Sciences 26: 206-208. (more)
  34. Datta, U., Roy, H. and Pakrashi, A. (2001). Effect of "SF-50", a partially purified protein from a marine Gastropoda mollusc Telescopium telescopium on female reproduction. Indian Journal of Marine Sciences 30: 44-48. (more)
  35. Yamanaka, T. and Mizota, C. (2001). Sulfur nutrition of gastropods and bivalves relevant to the mangrove forests: A case study from central Sumatra, Indonesia. Venus the Japanese Journal of Malacology 60(1-2): 71-78. (more)
  36. Kumar, S., Ghosh, D., Biswas, T.K., Dutta, U., Das, P. and Kundu, S. (2008). Spermatheca gland extract of snail (Telescopium telescopium) has wound healing potential: an experimental study in rabbits. International Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds 7(4): 204-209. (more)
  37. Maji, S., Datta, U. and Hembram, M.L. (2010a). A new sperm agglutinin factor from marine snail Telescopium telescopium: An evaluation with goat (Capra hircus) cauda epididymal spermatozoa. Iranian Journal of Reproductive Medicine 8: 10-17. (more)
  38. Maji, S., Datta, U. and Hembram, M.L. (2010b). Cell surface changes associated with in vitro capacitation and acrosome reaction of goat epididymal sperm by a marine bio-active compound from the snail Telescopium telescopium. Veterinarski Arhiv 80: 561-570. (more)
  39. Peerzada, N., Eastbrook, C. and Guinea, M. (1990). Heavy-metal concentration in Telescopium from Darwin Harbor, NT, Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin 21: 307-308. (more)
  40. Jones, G.B., Mercurio, P. and Olivier, F. (2000). Zinc in fish, crabs, oysters, and mangrove flora and fauna from Cleveland Bay. Marine Pollution Bulletin 41: 345-352. (more)
  41. Jones, M.A., Stauber, J., Apte, S., Simpson, S., Vicente-Beckett, V., Johnson, R. and Duivenvoorden, L. (2005). A risk assessment approach to contaminants in Port Curtis, Queensland, Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin 51(1-4): 448-458. (more)
  42. Ismail, A. and Safahieh, A. (2005). Copper and zinc in intertidal surface sediment and Telescopium telescopium from Lukut River, Malaysia. Coastal Marine Science 29: 111-115. (more)
  43. Kesavan, K., Raja, P., Ravi, V. and Rajagopal, S. (2010). Heavy metals in Telescopium telescopium and sediments from two stations of Vellar Estuary, Southeast Coast of India. Thalassas 26: 35-41. (more)
  44. Yap, C.K., Noorhaidah, A., Azlan, A., Azwady, A.a.N., Ismail, A., Ismail, A.R., Siraj, S.S. and Tan, S.G. (2009). Telescopium telescopium as potential biomonitors of Cu, Zn, and Pb for the tropical intertidal area. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 72(2): 496-506. (more)
  45. Noorhaidah, A. and Yap, C.K. (2010). Correlations between speciation of Zn in sediment and Zn concentrations in different soft tissues of the gastropod mollusc Telescopium telescopium collected from intertidal areas of Peninsular Malaysia. Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science 33: 79-90. (more)
  46. Roy, S., Datta, U., Ghosh, D., Dasgupta, P.S., Mukherjee, P. and Roychowdhury, U. (2010). Potential future applications of spermatheca extract from the marine snail Telescopium telescopium. Turkish Journal of Veterinary & Animal Sciences 34: 533-540. (more)
  47. Swadling, P. (1977). Central province shellfish resources and their utilization in the prehistoric past of Papua New Guinea. Veliger 19(3): 293-302. (more)
Unless otherwise referenced, the information in this profile has been written by Winston Ponder, 2011.

-- WinstonPonder, ElizabethTucker, SashaMartinov. - 2011-05-25