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Toxins and Related Anatomical Features

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The venom of cone snails is one of the most intriguing substances extant in the natural world. As one of the most potent of venoms, much effort has gone into understanding its biochemistry. Among Gastropods, these snails have some of the most distinctly specialized radulas. The process by which this venom is created and then passed into the victim has been the topic of more recent research. In both the Marshall and Salisbury paper, it is suggested that the biomechanics behind C. Californicus' venom delivery mechanisms is likely quite similar across the Conus genus.

Morphologically, all of the apparatuses involved in venom excretion and delivery are concentrated in the anterior end of the digestive tract. It can be simplified into a three-part structure, each part with unique function: The venom duct (differentiated into the proximal and distal ends of the duct), the radular sac in which the harpoon-like teeth are stored, and the muscular bulb (the function of this portion is the least understood).

Venom is potentially simplified prior to delivery to the prey item (which in C. californicus could be any number of organisms, as this temperate species feeds on a distinctly more diverse diet than it's tropical counterparts). This is supported by the presence of specialized epithelial cells in the duct. It is also reasonable, based upon the findings of Marshall (2002) to believe that the teeth are "pre-loaded" with venom within the radular sac preceding their use.

C. californicus, like all snails of genus Conus, posesses an incredibly well-adapted venom and venom-delivery mechanism. Much investigation is left to be made into the precision hunting instruments of these predators.

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Californiconus californicus

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Californiconus californicus, common name the Californian cone, is a species of small, predatory sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Conidae, the cone snails.[1]

As both the Latin name and common name suggest, this cone is found in California.

Distribution and habitat

This small cone snail is unusual, in that most cone snail species are tropical, whereas this species lives in the cooler, temperate waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean, including most of the coast of California.[2] The range of this species is from the Farallon Islands near San Francisco to Bahia Magdalena, in Baja California, Mexico. [1]

This cone is found in both rocky and sandy areas, in the intertidal zone, and subtidally down to 30 meters depth. [2]

Shell description

This shell is distinguished by its grayish-brown color and thick periostracum. It is round-shouldered with the aperture broader at the base. The spire is flat-sided, and the height of the shell ranges from 25–40 mm.[3]

Feeding habits

The California cone hunts and eats marine worms, fish, and other mollusks. It is also a scavenger.[2]

Gallery

Fossil record

Fossils of Californiconus californicus have been recovered from the Late Pleistocene strata of Isla Vista, California.[4]

References

  1. ^ a b Conus californicus Reeve, 1844. Retrieved through: World Register of Marine Species on 27 March 2010.
  2. ^ a b Stewart J. & Gilly W. F. (October 2005). "Piscivorous Behavior of a Temperate Cone Snail, Conus californicus". Biological Bulletin 209: 146–153. full text.
  3. ^ McLean, James H., 1978 Marine Shells of Southern California, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Museum, Science Series 24, 51–52.
  4. ^ McMenamin, M. A. S. (1984). "Conus californicus from the Late Pleistocene of Isla Vista, California". Bulletin of the Southern California Paleontological Society. 16 (1&2): 9.

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Californiconus californicus: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

Californiconus californicus, common name the Californian cone, is a species of small, predatory sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Conidae, the cone snails.

As both the Latin name and common name suggest, this cone is found in California.

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Wikipedia authors and editors
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