Cone snails are awesome

Whilst in the Scottish Museum in Edinburgh last month, I spotted this intriguing display model:

4 – Fish-hunting cone shell, Conus Tulipa

image

A creature that lives in a shell in the sea and hunts fish? How would that even work? Sounds as likely as a sloth that chases down its prey.

The Scientific American 60-second science podcast came to the rescue with a report on a close cousin, the geographic cone snail (Conus geographus):

Snail’s Venom Puts Fish in Insulin Coma

A team of biologists, mainly at the University of Utah, discovered that the cone snail’s venom contains neurotoxins and insulin. The snail initially sends out a cloud of insulin that prey take in through its gills, causing the fish’s blood sugar to plummet, depriving its brain of energy, and inducing a coma. The snail then slowly crawls over to the victim and stings it, making doubly-sure lunch is not going to escape. Awesome stuff.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Science. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s