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Unveiling the Hidden World of Scaphopods: A Glimpse into the Life of Tusk Shells

By: Chandler Olson


In the latest video on our YouTube Channel (link), we embark on an expedition to explore the fascinating life of a unique type of mollusk, the scaphopods, commonly known as tusk shells. These elusive creatures, found in oceans worldwide, spend the majority of their lives concealed beneath layers of sand or mud, rendering them a rare sight in their natural habitat.

Scaphopod lifts white foot above its shell
Dentalium majorinum

The scaphopod, Dentalium majorinum, was one of many amazing encounters during our expedition to Eastern Antarctica. Prior to this experience, I had never before seen a scaphopod alive and the way the moved and borrowed fascinated me! It inspired me to set up the photography tank and begin filming.


One particular behavior we were eager to document was the scaphopod's burrowing process. Capturing this phenomenon presented a unique challenge because as soon as the mollusk's foot dipped beneath the sand, visibility became limited. However, our ingenuity came to the rescue. By gently pressing the scaphopod against the glass tank wall, we managed to reveal the mesmerizing spectacle of its foot pushing into the sand. This technique yielded stunning footage, showcasing the intricate fanning movement of the scaphopod.


scaphopod rests on sand with foot extending from shell
Dentalium majorinum

With this compelling footage at our disposal, we've crafted a captivating video that provides an intimate look into the world of scaphopods. Our primary aim with this video is to share the sheer fascination we experienced while observing these creatures and to deepen the understanding of the remarkable animal behind the tusk shells often found washed up on beaches.


Our journey into the secret realm of scaphopods has not only yielded breathtaking footage but has also ignited a sense of wonder and curiosity about these elusive creatures. We hope that through our video, viewers will come to appreciate the beauty of scaphopods and gain a deeper insight into the intricate world of marine life. If you're as captivated by these creatures as we are, please don't hesitate to watch our video and join us in celebrating the marvels of the ocean's hidden treasures.




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