Aussie local stunned by 'intriguing' find on Tasmanian coast

Mandy Cotman was excited by her beach find during her Monday walk.

The beach can be a treasure trove full of washed up creatures, delighting even the most avid marine enthusiasts like Tasmanian local Mandy Cotman.

She admits to often keeping her "eyes peeled" when walking along Jack's Bech on the state's southeast coast in the hope she finds interesting creatures and on Monday her efforts were not in vain.

Mandy Cotman on the left wearing a jacket and beanie while standing near a pond. Right, she holds her beach find in her hand, looking like an oval brown rock.
Mandy Cotman was stunned by her beach find on East Beach in northern Tasmania. Source: Supplied

At first her discovery looks like nothing more than a small stone and shell, however, she knew better than to simply dismiss it.

"I could see that it was some form of mollusc or maybe a sea squirt. It was unfamiliar so I picked it up," Mandy told Yahoo News Australia.

"I was intrigued by the little guy."

Now a scientist in another field, Mandy was still perplexed by the creature despite previously studying marine biology.

What did she discover?

Mandy found a keyhole limpet on the sand — a type of sea snail.

Despite their easily overlooked appearance, these creatures are incredibly impressive, with their tongues known to be the strongest biological structure in the world.

Keyhole limpets can be seen underwater, appearing more like a snail than the picture taken from Mandy.
Keyhole limpets use their incredibly strong tongues to scrape off sponges from rocks to eat. Source: Biodiversity of the Central Coast

They use their tongue, known as a radula, to scrape off and eat sponges from tough rocks without inflicting damage to itself.

They usually live on rocks and under stones as deep as 250 metres in the ocean, with Mandy's sighting rare as they are often hidden away.

"It always makes me sad when I see any form of marine creature washed up," Mandy said, sharing she quickly captured a photo before placing it back in the water. "I hope it wasn't too late."

Mandy's discovery is the latest in a long list of reports from beachgoers sharing their weird and wonderful finds along Australian beaches. Last week another Tasmania woman shared her discovery of an unusual creature on her local beach, with the large translucent tube later identified as a sea salp.

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