Scientific identify: Conus species
What do they seem like? Cone shells are snails with exquisitely patterned shells, usually consisting of brown decorations in opposition to a light-weight background. The shell could be as a lot as 23 cm lengthy. The spire of the shell isn't very apparent, giving it the looks of a brief, stubby cigar. The solely components of the animal seen outside are the big, muscular foot, the lengthy proboscis, which is actually its mouth and its eye stalks.
Where do they dwell? The cone shells are animals of tropical and subtropical waters, usually within the western Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific oceans. They are sometimes discovered on coral reefs.
When we consider snails we usually consider the common-or-garden backyard snail—gradual shifting, benign creatures. However, within the seas, many snails are fierce predators, ready to deal with prey bigger than themselves. The cone shell is one such instance. Active cone shells transfer round their habitat utilizing their muscular foot and utilizing their siphon to “taste” the water for potential prey. When prey is inside vary, the snail hundreds its proboscis with a small harpoon, which is definitely a single tooth from its radula (the snail equal of jaws). The harpoon is lengthy, grooved and has a barb at one finish and is retained on the entrance of the proboscis by the radula muscle. Once in place the proboscis is shot ahead and impales the prey on the harpoon, which stays related to the snail by means of a slender wire of tissue. A big muscular bulb and very lengthy poison duct contained in the snail are used to pump venom into the prey by means of the hole harpoon. Thisvenom may be very potent certainly, containing varied neurotoxic and ache-killing chemical compounds. In not more than 1–2 seconds the prey is immobilized and because the harpoon continues to be connected it may be drawn again in the direction of the animal the place it's engulfed by the capacious proboscis, earlier than slipping into the snail’s abdomen. The prey could be sizeable, together with small fish and giant polychaete worms. In these cone shells that feed on different snails, there is no such thing as a likelihood of the prey escaping; subsequently the harpoon is free of the proboscis. In the species feeding on very lively prey, the snail is commonly hid within the sand, the place it waits till the prey is immediately above it earlier than thrusting its harpoon into the gentle underbelly of the fish or worm.