Archerd Shell Collection > Shell Classes > Gastropoda > Conacea 

Venom Apparatus of the Superfamily: Conacea


 

 

[Photo by Clay Brice, in Wilson,1994]

At left, the drawing shows structure of the venom apparatus used by molluscs in the Conacea superfamily, consisting of the Cone, Turrid and Auger families. All of these carnivore species make use of the same mechanism to immobilize prey. Their venom is a neurotoxic poison, and in the case of some large cones, dangerous to people as well. The toxins are now known to be a complex of several small peptide molecules that target different functional sites in the prey animal (Fry, 2005). There is also evidence that cone predators can selectively alter the makeup of the injected toxin complex, in order to better target specific fish or mollusc species (Jakubowski et al., 2005).

At right, is a closeup of the partially everted proboscis of Conus striatus, ejecting a venomous barb (preserved specimen).

 

 

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