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G is for Geographic Cone Snail.....

Up to this point, all the poisons and toxins I've highlighted have been plant-based or basic periodic elements. Today, I thought we might venture into the realm of the animal kingdom...

...enter the Geographic Cone snail:


There are nearly 500 species of Cone Snails, but the Geographic Cone Snail (whose intricately-patterned shells are coveted by collectors) are by far the most deadly. There is no known anti-venom for the cone snail's toxic sting. Being stung by this reef-dwelling snail from the Indo-Pacific, becomes a battle to outlive the potency of the venom.

It goes without saying that the venom of this fish-eating gastropod must be instant-acting and potent, otherwise their prey would simply swim away to die, leaving the cone snail with no meal and a waste of venom. This species of cone snail has been disturbingly nicknamed the cigarette snail as the quip connected with the snail's toxicity is that a victim would only have the time to smoke a cigarette before the venom took full, deadly effect.

The venom of the cone snail is delivered by a harpoon-like tooth that comes out of an extendable proboscis. And, most human poisonings have been a result of individuals picking up the snail and holding/admiring their intricate shells.

Cone Snail Song

Don't be fooled by my sluggish gait,
I pack a mighty punch.
Just ask that skittish fish over there,
I had his briny uncle for lunch.

                                                                                             --- e.a.s. demers




Comments

  1. hmm - obscure but interesting. Nice topic you have chosen for the challenge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it's a bit obscure...but, it was hard finding something for the letter "G".... lol

      Delete
  2. Oh my! As if I wasn't already terrified enough of venomous sea creatures...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know... and I never imagined a snail would be so venomous...

      Delete
  3. Odsbodlikins! Now I have to cross reference my list of vacation destinations with cone snail habitat. Got me rethinking this whole snorkeling thing...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL... it's scary ain't it?? You can still snorkel, just don't go picking up the pretty snails :-)

      Delete

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