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Mudflats

Wavy Volute (Photo: Jonathon Stevenson)

Wavy Volute (Photo: Jonathon Stevenson)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Mudflats

Sharptailed Sandpiper (Photo: Sarah Green)

Sharptailed Sandpiper (Photo: Sarah Green)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Mudflats

Moon Snail (Photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Moon Snail (Photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Mudflats

Flatworm (Photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Flatworm (Photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Mudflats

Soldier Crab (Photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Soldier Crab (Photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Mudflats

Mudflats are places without vegetation where low tides leave soft muddy sediments exposed to the air. They are important feeding areas for many birds and fish.

Mudflats are teeming with worms, small crustaceans such as crabs and burrowing shrimp, and a variety of snails and other molluscs, many of which use broken down organic debris washed into these areas for food.

Mudflats are made up of very fine particles that restrict water movement into the soil and have little oxygen below the surface. This contributes to the black colour and smelly gases produced in these habitats. These characteristics are due to the activities of bacteria that can survive in the thick airless mud.

Most animals that live in the mud have burrows or special features that allow them to get oxygen from the water above. Animals found in mudflats include Soldier Crab (Mictyris platycheles), Flatworm (Platyhelminthes), Moon Snail (Polinices conicus), Sharptailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminate) and Wavy Volute (Amoria undulate).

Key Threats

  • Poor water quality entering the sea from catchments
  • Fishing or removal of animals and plants
  • Marine pests such as the European Green Crab (Carcinus meanus) or green algae known as Broccoli Weed (Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides)which compete for food or space
  • Boat and anchor damage in shallow areas
  • Oil and chemical pollution
  • Climate change effects including sea level rise, warming sea surface temperatures, and increasing ocean acidity.

Where to see mudflats

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8 Apr 2017 8:00pm - 29 Apr 2017 9:30pm

This theatrical performance taking place at the historic farm in Werribee Park, is filled with history, comedy and scary elements. It is a highly entertaining and informative performance, suitable for ages 11 and above.

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26 May 2017 6:00am-10:00pm

Melbourne Coastrek is an annual 30km - 60km team trekking challenge held along the Mornington Peninsula's stunning coastline raising money for The Fred Hollows Foundation. Hosted by Wild Women On Top, it’s one of the most picturesque endurance events in Australia, including ocean and bay beaches and views, headlands, cliff…