Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cone Snail

[Originally posted to the Moorea Coral Reef LTER (MCR LTER) Marine Life Encyclopedia]

Cone Snail
(Conus spp.)

Cone Snail - Conus spp.
Photo by Gerick Bergsma

Conus is a diverse genus, with over 500 species.

Worldwide, primarily in tropics, but several species inhabit temperate reefs.

Exposed reefs, reef flats and sand patches

Worms, mollusks (including other cone snails), and fish

Quick Fact
Cone snails are predatory, and hunt by sniffing out their prey with their long proboscis.  Many burrow through the sand, sneaking up on their prey before stinging them with a harpoon-like mouthpart called a radula.  They then inject their prey with some of the most powerful neurotoxins known.  The toxin in several species, including C. textile and C. geographus are powerful enough to kill humans, and are being studied for their abilities to disrupt nerve function, possibly leading to more powerful pain killers.

Learn More
- Wikipedia
- Nature

- Moorea Biocode Database

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