WhyReef - Fun Facts
Do not underestimate the geographic cone snail: it is one of the deadliest animals on the reef! It uses a tube near its head to shoot tiny harpoons into its prey or any animal that dares to try to eat it. These harpoons are filled with incredibly toxic venom that stuns, or paralyzes, its prey, which the cone snail slowly eats alive. It can eat an entire fish whole! It has the most poisonous venom of any other species of cone snail, and has killed over 30 humans unlucky enough to get in its way! So you shouldn’t ever pick it up if you see it in the ocean.
- Encyclopedia of Life. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.eol.org, version (08/2009). http://www.eol.org
- National Geographic. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.nationalgeographic.com, version (08/2009). http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/10/1003_SnappingShrimp.html
- The Conus Biodiversity Website. World Wide Web electronic publication. http://biology.burke.washington.edu, version (08/2009). http://biology.burke.washington.edu/conus/recordview/record.php?ID=1197ll&tabs=21111111&frms=1&res=&pglimit=G
It is only half-true to write, "It uses a tube near its head to shoot tiny harpoons into its prey or any animal that dares to try to eat it." True, C. geographus may use its venom in self-defense. However, unlike other species of Conus, such as C. magus, C. geographus does not harpoon its prey before eating them. Rather, it begins engulfing them with its rostrum, and injects them with venom only after they have been mostly engulfed. See PDF: